A British Artist in Meiji Japan, Sir Alfred East

by Sir Hugh Cortazzi (ed),
In Print Publishing, 1991,
ISBN 873047053, pp 136.

In 1889 the Victorian artist, Sir Alfred East was commissioned by the Fine Art Society of London to visit Japan and produce a series of paintings and etchings. Whilst travelling through the country, East kept a journal, which is published for the first time in ‘A British Artist in Meiji Japan’. This fascinating book provides a captivating and humorous account of the artist’s travels through a Japan that was only just beginning to develop relations with the Western world. To many Japanese, East and other Victorian travelers were some of the first foreigners they had ever seen.

In addition to eight colour plates of East’s landscape paintings, ‘A British Artist in Meiji Japan’ contains humorous vignettes and stories of mutual culture shock alongside insightful descriptions of Japan’s Meiji culture. This book is highly recommended for lovers of unusual travel diaries, students of Japanese culture, art historians and anyone else interested in East-West relations.

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