Miya Itabashi

MA work

Although it has been pointed out in many of the studies on Japonisme that western artists introduced the motifs, subjects and compositional devices of Japanese prints in the 19th century, the period after the 1890s saw the emergence of a new group of British artists who adopted other aspects of Japanese prints, that is, the traditional Japanese printmaking techniques, tools and materials.

There were two backgrounds for this renewed interest in Japanese printmaking. One was the development of the studies on Japanese prints and printmaking in Britain from the 1880s onwards, which offered the view in which Japanese printmaking was seen as embodying Arts and Crafts ideas – such as ‘truth to materials’, ‘artist-craftsmanship’ and ‘art for the people’. Another background was the artistic revival of printmaking in Britain from the mid-19th century onwards.

Encouraged by these backgrounds, some British printmakers began to employ the Japanese method in order to achieve the Arts and Crafts ideas from the 1890s and disseminated Japanese techniques through teaching at major art schools. In the 1920s and 1930s, not only woodcut printmakers but also linocut printmakers adopted some Japanese printmaking techniques. Moreover, these printmakers promoted their prints by associating them with the factors which had special significance in the inter-war years; the notions of ‘Englishness’ and ‘modernity’ and the general rise in interest in home ownership and the domestic interior.

By examining these issues, this thesis aimed to shed a new light on second-stage Japonisme in Britain.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2009

  • Although it has been pointed out in many of the studies on Japonisme that western artists introduced the motifs, subjects and compositional devices of Japanese prints in the 19th century, the period after the 1890s saw the emergence of a new group of British artists who adopted other aspects of Japanese prints, that is, the traditional Japanese printmaking techniques, tools and materials.

    There were two backgrounds for this renewed interest in Japanese printmaking. One was the development of the studies on Japanese prints and printmaking in Britain from the 1880s onwards, which offered the view in which Japanese printmaking was seen as embodying Arts and Crafts ideas – such as ‘truth to materials’, ‘artist-craftsmanship’ and ‘art for the people’. Another background was the artistic revival of printmaking in Britain from the mid-19th century onwards.

    Encouraged by these backgrounds, some British printmakers began to employ the Japanese method in order to achieve the Arts and Crafts ideas from the 1890s and disseminated Japanese techniques through teaching at major art schools. In the 1920s and 1930s, not only woodcut printmakers but also linocut printmakers adopted some Japanese printmaking techniques. Moreover, these printmakers promoted their prints by associating them with the factors which had special significance in the inter-war years; the notions of ‘Englishness’ and ‘modernity’ and the general rise in interest in home ownership and the domestic interior.

    By examining these issues, this thesis aimed to shed a new light on second-stage Japonisme in Britain.