THE COLOUR-PRINTS OF HIROSHIGE - EDWARD F. STRANGE
SKETCH-BOOKS AND DRAWINGS
The sketches and notes and studies - the memoria technica - of any considerable artist have a charm which often surpasses that of the finished work. In this matter the painter holds a large advantage over those who ply the other arts. The poor scribe is, of all, shackled hardest by the necessary tricks of his trade - though one thinks, wistfully, of such easy freedom as that of Herrick, and of those who made the Greek Anthology, and of all the writers of verse that ever were native to Japan. In this last innumerable company was Hiroshige. When a subject appealed to him he might make a little poem, a few lines - three or four or five in the popular manner; or a drawing done with hardly more strokes of the brush or the charred stick which did the work of our pencils. Hiroshige, in literary mood, was something of a wit; and apt, reading between the lines of his diaries, to be caustic at times. No doubt his restless brush expressed itself in like manner ; but the few fragments that remain of the drawings he made of scenes that demanded to be drawn and would not be denied, suggest only the most intense feeling for the veritable spirit of Nature. They are slight - in the sense that they evince a most severe economy of labour ; but no one may give them any term implying triviality. For the draughtsman who can, in so few strokes, give a perfect impression of a landscape with a horizon fifty miles away, or the gates of a mighty temple, or of a mere pot or two, or a girl's head-dress, with equal genius and facility, is in the first rank of his craft-and Hiroshige did these things and more.
His method of work may be concisely stated, so far as can be gathered from the specimens available for study. The beginning of a design was a sketch in black-and-white, small in size, and done either in wash or bold line. This gives the pith of the matter. Its composition is always perfect, and seems to have been instinctive - an integral part of his genius - for no corrections are to be found at this stage. In his notes on the original sketches for the "Yehon Tebiki Gusa," printed elsewhere, he distinguishes between the "accurate copy " and the "quick brushwork." His sketches belong to the latter category. These were followed by a draft of the design fo a colour-print, of which a good example is to be seen in the 3-sheet drawing of a "Street Scene at Akibana, Yedo," exhibited with the set of tools and materials for the process of Japanese colourprinting, at the Victoria and Albert Museum ; and in the designs for a set of "Views of the Tamagawa" illustrated in this volume. Corrections are now made where necessary, not by rubbing out, or the use of body-colour as with us - Japanese paper does not lend itself to the former - but on thin paper pasted over the original. Probably a drawing in this stage might go at once to the engraver, to be laid on the block and cut up in the course of engraving ; but it may be that where extra care was being taken a fair copy would have been made for this purpose. It is the later stages of the operation that Hiroshige may have, during his last period, handed over to his pupil.
That excellent publication the Kokka, which, in respect of its illustrations is superior to any periodical produced in this country, has reproduced at various times drawings by Hiroshige in what one might call a painter's style - having no apparent connexion with the production of a colour-print. Among them are a number of Tokaido scenes. The Victoria and Albert Museum possesses a set of such drawings, one of which we reproduce (Plate facing p.120), of great power and interest. He also in his later years painted a few kakemono (hanging pictures) in form corresponding to the works of the recognized schools of Japanese painting. The finest of these is, no doubt, the "Daimyo Procession" in the Imperial Museum at Tokyo ; and it is significant of the awakened interest of the Japanese in their great landscape artist that it is chosen as one of the few illustrations of Japanese painting to illustrate the Guide Book of the Imperial State Railways of Japan. There is a fine reproduction in the Kokka. But it is to the early sketches that the artist will turn. These are gems of the first water and of infinite variety. Fortunately, in view of the destruction caused by the fire and earthquake at Tokyo, we have a share of them, and so placed as to be easily accessible to students - a matter for which we are indebted to Mr. Arthur Morrison, who obtained them from Japan and made it possible for them to be added to the national treasures of this country.
The Department of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum contains four small volumes of original sketches by Hiroshige (Arthur Morrison Collection, Nos. 1545-8) which are of much importance, as they, in many instances, furnish a record of the artist's personal observation of many scenes, afterwards embodied in some of his best-known prints. These books are all of the same size, 9¼ by 6½ inches, outside measurement ; and, with the exception noted below, are in strong line, vigorously drawn and, in most cases, with a brief note of the name of the place in Hiroshige's own script. They contain no information in diary form. One only is dated - Kayei 1st year (A.D. 1848) ; the others appear to be perhaps somewhat earlier, and are certainly not much later. They afford incontestable evidence that Hiroshige actually visited the scenes recorded in series where we have hitherto had no definite proof of the fact ; and also of his method of work. Straining after analogies is an attractive but dangerous pastime ; yet it may be permitted to suggest that these first-hand notes, afterwards used with such admirable results, may be compared with the mass of similar work by our own great landscape painter, J. M. W. Turner, bequeathed by him to a nation that has hardly yet begun to appreciate their splendid artistic and educational value.
A detailed examination and comparison of these sketch-books, with the large number of prints involved, is impossible within the limits of this volume ; but the following indication of their contents may serve as a guide to students, who will find that such research will well repay their efforts. The sketch-books are not paged; but the references given in the list are to the numbers of folios in each, counting from the right. It should also be understood that references are only to the locality and not, unless expressly stated, to particular prints ; for it must not be assumed that those relating to particular stations on the Kisokaido necessarily imply that the actual sketch is reproduced in the corresponding series of prints, but only that it was made at the place indicated. Explanatory notes added to the transliteration of the script are given in brackets.
B.M. 1545. Morrison Collection. In many instances,
more than one subject appears on each page.
1. Banshu (Harima Province) Ishi-no Hoden.
Oi (gawa) Shima (da). [Tokaido, 24. The Shimada bank with Fuji and setting sun.]
Kana (ya). [Tokaido, 25. Opposite bank of the Oi river.]
2. Seto. Abe (kawa). Fuji kawa (38). Kiomi. [All on the Tokaido.]
3. Yahagi (bridge). [Tokaido, 35, Yoshida.]
4. [No title. Avenue of pines with temple lanterns. For Yenshu Akihasan
Entrance to Akihasan Temple. Honcho Meisho.]
5. Yokkaichi (44). Kuwana (43). Miya (42). [Three successive stations on
6. [Cooking clams, etc., typical of Kuwana, Tokaido.]
7. Nunobiki-no Taki, Oto-Kodake. [The "male" waterfall at Nunobiki, Settsu Province.]
8. [Perhaps Nara.]
9. [No title.]
10. Futami, Ise. [The Rock and Village. The subject is in Tsutaya's "36 Views of Fuji."]
11. Asakuma-Toge, Chaya. [Tea-house at Asakuma Pass on road to Futami.]
Ako (in) Arima (province). [Associated with Chushingura.]
12. Tempozan, Kozu-no Miya. Naniwa (=Osaka).
13, 14. Kozuke. [60 Provinces.] Shriek. Kambegawa.
15-17. Bizen. [60 Provinces.]
18. Takasago Ura. Muro-notsu. Ai-oi-no Matsu. [Harima Province.]
19. Suma (beach). Akashi. Hyogo. [Harima Province.]
20. [Harima sketches.]
21. [Kiyomidzu Temple, Kyoto Meisho.]
22. Shimabara [Kyoto Meisho]. Naniwaya-no Matsu.
Sumiyoshi [both Naniwa Meisho].
23. Shimabara [Kyoto Meisho.] Demi-no hama [Honcho Meisho].
Gojo [bridge, Kyoto].
24. Marugame [Sanuki Province]. Dankin-no Hana.
[Bizen Province.] Maiko Hama. [Harima Province.]
25. Kitano (Temple). Maruyama. Otsu. [Kyoto.]
26. Chioin. [Temple, Kyoto, and local costume.]
27. Ishiyama [Omi Hakkei]. Kusatsu, Oiwake [Tokaido, S3 and Kisokaido, 69].
Echikawa [Kisokaido, 66].
28. Karasaki. [Pine tree and Temple. Omi Hakkei.]
29. Otsu [Courtesan quarter. Tokaido, 54.]
30. Miidera Temple. Ishiyama Temple. Seta (Evening). [Omi Hakkei.]
31. Takamiyajima. Takamiyakawa. [Kisokaido, 65.] Echikawa [Kisokaido, 66.]
32. Musa [Kisokaido, 67.]
33. Saikawa. Araikawa. [On Kisokaido.]
34. Tenryugawa [Tokaido and Kisokaido].
35. Uji bashi [Yamashiro Province.]
36. Ai-no-yama, Ise. Sunshu [ = Suruga] Fuchu.
37. Satta. Yui [Tokaido, 17]. Okitsu [Tokaido, i8].
38. Hommoku Junytensha [Yokohama].
B.M. 1546. Morrison Collection. [In this book are many
drawings of scenes on the Kisokaido. Those marked Y refer to
Stations of which the prints were made by Yeisen.]
1. Itabashi-eki, Tateba. [Resting place at Tateba. Kisokaido, 2. Y.]
Toda-no Watashi. [Ferry-boat at Toda, Warabi Station. Kisokaido, 3. Y.] This sketch has also short poems on a journey to the Kisokaido, of which the following are two.
Sake Kumite medetaku
Hana-no Wakare Kana.
Drinking sake, happy farewell of the flower.
Kashimadachi Okurite Kokoni
Yagate Medetaku Kaeru Tokai.
I am leaving to begin a journey
On the Kiso Road,
Soon shall I joyfully return to the Eastern Sea (Yedo).
2. Omiya Shiku Musashi Ichi-no Miya Hikawa Daimiojin. [The famous Shinto
Shrine of Hikawa. Omiya Station. Kisokaido, 5. Y.]
Kumagaya Tsutsumi Arakawa. [Embankment at Kumagaya. Kisokaido, 9. Y.]
Fukaya Irikuchi. [Entrance to Fukaya. Kisokaido, 10. Y.]
3. Shinmachi Shiku ; Shinryukawana, Karasugawa. [Kisokaido, 12.]
Honjo Irikuchi. [Kisokaido, 11. Y.]
4. Kuragano. [Kisokaido, 13. Y.]
Kumagai Renshobo. [Portrait of Renshobo, the name taken by Kumagai Naozane when he became a priest and whose shrine is here. Kisokaido, 9. Y]
5. Saruga Banba Toge (Pass). [Kisokaido, 63.]
6. Suwa-no Kozan [Fish, produce of Lake Suwa]. Shin [ = Shinano Province].
Suwa Kono Dzu. [Kisokaido, 30.]
7. Shin Hakke and Take [Peak and a Castle].
8. Shojiri Toge. [Shojiri Pass. Kisokaido, 31. Y.]
9. Myogi San Embo. [Distant view of Mount Myogi, Matsuida, Kisokaido, 17.]
Nakano Take Embo [Distant view of Nakano Peak].
10, 11. Chikumagawa Watashi. [Ferry on the Chikuma River - a fine 2-page drawing.]
12, 13. [Studies of country folk on the Kisokaido.]
14. Shinshu [ = Shinano Province] Zenkoji.
15. Surikugi Toge Yori Biwa-ko. [Lake Biwa from Surikugi Pass.]
16. [Studies of country folk ; one sheet marked for colour, "grey," "green," etc ]
17. Kashiwabara Shiku. [Shops for moxa treatment. Kisokaido, 61.]
Akasaka Irikuchi. [Entrance to Akasaka. Kisokaido, 57.]
18. Tarui. [Kisokaido, 58]. Myeji. [Kisokaido, 56.]
Samegai. [Kisokaido, 62.]
19. Ikao Tojiba. [Hot springs at Ikao, near Karuizawa. Kisokaido, 19.]
20. [3 views, unnamed.]
2r. Amba. [The village, inscribed "Boundary of the Provinces of Mino and Omi.] Imasu. [Kisokaido, 60.]
23. Ota. [Kisokaido, 52.] Unuma. [Kisokaido, 53.]
Kano. [Kisokaido, 54.]
24. Kodo-no Watashi. [Ferry at Kodo. Kisokaido, 55. Y.]
Maid carrying water in pails with a yoke.
25. Shinshu Jino Jimbutsu. [Local costume of Shinano people, a kago, farmer, pony with firewood, etc.]
26. Nakatsugawa. [Kisokaido, 46.] Oi. [Kisokaido, 47.]
27. Ju-San Toge. [Pass between Oi and Okute [Kisokaido, 48.]
28. Ota-no Watashi. [Ferry at Ota. Kisokaido, 52.]
Kwannonzaka Yori Chobo. [View from Kwannon Hill.]
29. Shimo-no suwa. [Kisokaido, 30.]
30. Tsuma-ko. [For Tsumakome. Kisokaido, 43.]
Magome. [Kisokaido, 44. Y.] Ochiai. [Kisokaido, 45.]
B.M. 1547 (Morrison Collection).
r-8. [Various sketches, unnamed.]
9. [Sketch of Rapids at Awa-no Naruto.]
11. Suwo, Kintai-bashi. [60 Provinces.]
13. Sumi [ =black ink].
14. Sai [= colour]. Ju-san Toge. [The Ju-san Pass.]
15. Otagawa. [Kisokaido, 52.]
19. Haruna-no Uchi. [Snow at Haruna. 60 Provinces.]
20. Uchu. [Also marked "Rain" - but no rain has been drawn.] Kirihari.
[Fine Day after Mist.]
21. [Girl and Full Moon. Signed, Ryusai.]
Sagabori Setchu. [Snow at Setchu.]
22. Futami-ga Ura, Asakuma Yama Hana. [Flowers at Asakuma Mountain.]
23. [The Courtesan Takao and Cuckoo.]
24. Yoshiwara Tsukiyo-no Hana. [Moonlight at Yoshiwara. Tokaido, 15.]
Dosho Nihon Tsutsumi-no Yuki. [Snow on the embankment at the same place.]
25. Myo-no Matsuwara Kiomigaseki.
26. Shinobazu Uchu-no Hana. [Flowers at the Shinobazu Pond in rain. Toto Meisho.]
Kozuke [Province] Muchu-no Hana. [Flowers in Mist at Muchu.]
27. Meguro, Chiyogasaki. Dosho, Chiyogaiki. [Toto Meisho.]
28. Tsunohazu Ju-ni-so-no-ike.
Dosho, Odaki Take (Waterfall).
29. Ojitaki-no Gawa. Oji, Otonashigawa, Odaki.
30. Gotenyama, Yoru-no Hana. [Flowers at evening at Gotenyama. Toto Meisho.] Takanawa, Yuki-no Asa. [Snow at Takanawa. Toto Meisho.]
31, 32. [Fuji and Cherry-blossom from the Sumida River.]
B.M. 1548 (Morrison Collection). Nos. 1-13 are in wash,
lightly tinted in places with red and blue. The rest are in line.
1. Takanawa, Asukayama. [Toto Meisho.]
2. Sumidagawa [in snow]. Ryogoku [in moonlight - both Toto Meisho].
3. Yoshiwara Nihon Tsutsume. [Yoshiwara embankment in rain. Tokaido, 15.]
Gotenyama. [Toto Meisho.]
4. Sanyabori-yori. Mimeguri Susaki.
5. Takanawa. Sumidagawa. [Toto Meisho.]
6. Tsukudajima. Asukayama Urate [Back view].
7. Ryogoku [with Fireworks]. Susaki. [Toto Meisho.]
8. Matsuchiyama. Gotenyama. [Toto Meisho.]
9. Tonegawa. Kozuke, Nakanoyama.
10. Kai, Saruhashi. [Sketch for the famous "Monkey-Bridge." See plate, facing
p. 72] Nunobiki-no Take. [Nunobiki Waterfall - so called from its resemblance to stretched linen. See plate, facing p. 72.]
11. Mio-no Matsubara. Hakone, Shiraito-no Taki. [Waterfall " like silk."]
12. Kozuke, Haruna San. [60 Provinces.] Mino, Otagawa [60 Provinces.]
13. [Unnamed, Fuji from Ryogoku.]
Sun [=Suruga] Satta-no Yuki. [Snow at Satta, Tokaido, 17.]
[On the latter page is the following inscription : "Kayei 1st  Monkey Year, drawn
in Summer. Shin [= Shinano] Sakata-no Byobu [note for distance]."]
14. Toto, Gotenyama. [Toto Meisho.] Hakone, Shiraito-no Take.
15. Tamegawa. Yamato, Tatsuta. [With maples.]
16. Kazusa, Kurodo-no Ura. Kyo, Arashiyama.
17. Ban [= Harima], Maiko [Beach]. Bu [= Musashi]. Kanazawa. [Sketch for one of the Kanazawa Hakkei.]
18. Sun [=Suruga], Fujikawa. [Tokaido, 38.]
Toto, Matsuchiyama. [Toto Meisho.]
19. Kaianji. Gotenyama. [Toto Meisho.]
20. Mimeguri Tsukiyo-no Yuki [Moonlight and Snow].
21. Sumidagawa. Konodai.
22. Kyoto, Arashiyama Sakura. [Kyoto Meisho.]
Kyoto, Momiji. [Kyoto Meisho.]
23. Yoshinogawa. Katsuragawa.
24. Schichirigahama. Enoshima.
25. [Unnamed: Enoshima.] [Lake View (?) Hakone.]
26. Koganei. Tamagawa. [Yedo Kinko Hakkei.]
27. [Unnamed - Cherry-blossom on a Beach, and Fuji.]
28. [Unnamed - Sailing-boats, and Sea View with Setting Sun.]
The British Museum also contains an album consisting of 10 double-page folios, drawn full-size for lateral prints and (9) lightly tinted with red and grey wash. These would be completed designs from which probably a fair copy would be made for the engraver. (Size 11 15/16 by 14¼ inches.) They are late in style, signed "Hiroshige," and sealed "Ichiryusai," the subject being (1) Plum garden at Kameido, (2) Viewing Cherry-blossoms at Mukojima, (3) Imado from Mukojima in Spring - almost exactly reproduced in the "36 Views of Fuji" - (4) Tamagawa, (5) Tanabata Festival, (6) Shinagawa beach in Autumn Moonlight, (7) Yanagi Bridge in Autumn Moonlight, (8) Maple Viewing at Oji - this is labelled Fuyu (Winter) in error for Aki (Autumn), and (9) Ferry-boat at Hashiba in Winter. The last drawing (10) is fully but badly coloured, and is inferior to the rest. It represents Snow on the Sumida River, from the Imado Tea-house, and is signed "Hiroshige" but not sealed. All must belong to Hiroshige's latest period.
The Diary already referred to as belonging to Dr. J. Hutchinson is written on the last two pages of a volume similar to those in the British Museum, 7¾ by 5 inches in size and containing 38 pages, of which two are blank and the first has only an inscription, "Memories of Travel." The rest (except for those previously mentioned) are filled with sketches, roughly but most vigorously drawn and annotated with names and memoranda in Hiroshige's writing. The following is a detailed account of the contents :
1. Title. Memories of Travel.
3. Taiko Iwa. Rock called Drum Rock.
4, 5. Mitake Michi, Gedo-no-hara, Koshu. Devil's Plain on the way to Mount Mitake, Koshu or Kai province. The rock on the summit of the mountain is called Katana nuki-ishi. (2-page.)
6, 7. The view continued from No. 2 (2-page).
8, 9. Kurakake Iwa. Saddle Rock (2-page).
10, 11. Zo-ga-hana. Cliff called Elephant Trunk (2-page).
12. Mitake Onion. Great Gate, Mitake.
14, 15. Place called Kajikazawa on the bank of the River Fuji, on the way to Mount Minobu. Two houses on the hill are tea-houses. There is an inn in the town. The whole way from this town to Mount Minobu has most beautiful scenery.
Both banks are mountains and hills and the River Fuji flows between the mountains. (2-page.)
16, 17. Sentaku Ishi. Large flat rock of that name, near Kiri-ishi town, the size of
the stone is 4 to 5 Ken (1 Ken = 6 feet) square. (2-page.)
18, 19. Biobu Iwa. Screen Rock. (2-page.)
20, 21. Kananashi-gawa. The river Kananashi. There are many large willow trees growing on the bank, the scenery is very beautiful. (2-page.)
22, 23. Hayakawa. The river of that name. There is a ferry-boat on the main river, but travellers must wade the small branches running on both sides of the main river. (2-page.)
24, 25. Ura Fuji. The back of Fuji as seen from Koshu province. (Written on this page are poems on Fuji.) The Dream Mountain is like a dream ; it is much more beautiful than I thought. Though people say the "back of Fuji" yet it is very beautiful as seen from that side, and I regret very much they use the term "Ura-Fuji." (2-page.)
26, 27. Place called Fujimaki ; a fountain fed by a spring. (Manuscript on the left is a poem. 2-page.)
28, 29. (A steep road winding up the hill, with the back of Fuji seen over peaks of other mountains. 2-page.)
30, 31. General view of Takaozan Temple (Shinto and Buddhist combined). The details are named :
(A) The main shrine, copper roof; the building is painted with cinnabar. (B) The Cakudo ; Picture Hall. (C) Fence painted with cinnabar. (D) Shoro ; Bell Tower. (E) Kagurado ; Sacred Dancing Hall. (F) Nio mon ; large Gate with Nio Images. (G) Stone Pagoda. (2-page.)
32, 33. General view of Kashiozan Daizenji Temple (Buddhist).
(A) Yakushido ; Hall of Yakushi Niorai. (B) Highway leading to Enoshima. (C) Hojo ; Chief Priest's residence. (D) Omon ; Gate. (2-page.)
34, 35. Sakaori-no Miya (Shinto Temple) where the flint stone of Yamatodake-no Mikoto is in existence. (2-page.)
36. Zenkoji (Temple) Shinano province. (A) Hondo or principal hall. (B) Large Bronze Buddha. (C) Monasteries (on the right side are the same). (D) Main Gate. (E) Ordinary House. (F) Stone pavement about 3 cho long (about 648 feet).
37, 38. MS. Diary.