one of the things morse
brought back with him when he returned from japan was a notebook of kimono pattern designs from 1734.
it had been created by Ôoka Shunboku, who "was one of the first artists to expand painting techniques to a broader audience through publishing monochromatic block-printed books, painting manuals, and other handbooks." 1
the designs in this collection were ostensibly created for wood-carving, but they were charming enough that they were chosen for fabric design, metalwork, room-divider screens, and much else.
interestingly, it would appear that this volume's reach, both geographically and chronologically, was certainly broader than he'd likely ever imagined. enter arthur silver and the silver studio.
from photographs we have of his home, we see that
silver collected and displayed treasures from japan.
his company, the silver studio, produced thousands
of designs for everything from textiles
and wallpaper to silver and jewelry.
the silver studio was on retainer to arthur lazenby liberty
's department store, liberty. they provided many of the items they produced to liberty's solely. both men were instrumental in introducing japanese goods, and styles, to the growing middle class. liberty was to england as bing
was to france.
we know this book was brought to the west early in the days of japan's trade with the west. is it such a reach that a collector such as silver might have gotten his hands on a copy?
of course, since it was one of the first multi-copy publications coming out of japan, it's also possible that that many others saw it as well. seemingly inspired textile designs came out of northern england, france, and the wiener werkstatte as well.
fortunately, you don't have to take my word for it:
Japan and British Art Nouveau, 1880-1900
July 2009 - Feb 2010, Middlesex
An exhibition exploring the influence of Japanese motifs and techniques on British Art Nouveau, with particular reference to the design output of the Silver Studio. The West London-based Silver Studio was founded by Arthur Silver, who during the 1880s and 90s was heavily interested in and influenced by the art of Japan. The exhibition will feature many Japanese and Japanese-inspired objects from the Silver Studios collection, and explore ideas around cross-fertilisation and the way in which design influences were shared between two very different cultures. 2
Labels: arthur lazenby liberty, design sample books, doris scull gregg, liberty co, Ôoka Shunboku, pattern, s. bing, silver studio, textiles, voysey, wallpaper, wiener werkstatte