Nocturne: Furnace

Reference URL

Nocturne: Furnace 1886
Whistler made this etching during his trip to Venice during 1879-80, but it was not published until 1886. In Venice Whistler produced a number of pastels and etchings, including many Nocturnes (night-views). This view of a Furnace shows the doorway to a forge that opens out onto a small canal. The claw-like prow of a gondola edges eerily into view from the left. In the doorway, the smith stands facing towards the viewer wearing and apron and holding his tool. The blazing light of the forge fills the interior in sharp contrast to the darkness outside. Whistler’s Nocturnes often gave everyday scenes an other-worldly and mysterious quality, and the forge, with its associations with ancient mythology and elemental creation appealed to his artistic tastes.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.



  • Acc. No. ENGLISH.889
  • Medium Etching on paper
  • Size Platemark: 16.70 x 22.90 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1949