Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Snow Country – Japanese woodcuts at the Fitz

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has a wonderful collection of Japanese woodcuts and about once a year a selection is displayed in the Shiba Gallery . . . a small room at the top of the stairs from the entrance lobby. These exhibitions are always a treat – beautifully displayed, sensitively curated and with fascinating information in the labels.

Utagawa Kunisada (1786 1865) Winter – Shinobazu Pond

This winter the theme has been Snow, the exhibition closes this Sunday (13th January 2013) if you haven't seen it yet and are able to get there, I can recommend going along (entrance is free!) – there is no substitute to seeing the real prints for appreciating the scale, intricate details and meticulous printmaking techniques. But if you can't get there or even if you can visit (or, like me, you have visited but didn't have time to read all the labels thoroughly – there's a huge amount of information to take in) 'Snow Country - woodcuts of the Japanese Winter' is now online . . . and the Fitz does this sort of thing very very well!

So, if the snow is falling outside your window this weekend, find a comfortable and warm place to sit and be transported to 18th/19th century Japan.

For printmakers I can highly recommend the section about the various techniques for depicting snow.

For a taster . . . here are two of my favourite prints . . .

Hiroshige lets the paper do the talking . . .

A triptych by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) Mountain and river on the Kiso road

ばちゃ    bacha    splat!
Utagawa Kuniyasu (1794-1832)
Kabuki actors Segawa Kikunojô V and Bandô Mitsugorô III

Stay warm!



  1. Took the boys to that last Thursday. Never get enough time when with them to read it all, but will look at the link you have given to catch up. If it does snow this weekend I think we will build a snow rabbit.
    Did you go to the china's white gold exhibition as well? That was a very unexpected surprise, plan to go back as it is on to april

    1. The 'China’s White Gold' exhibition is on my must see list... looking forward to it.

  2. Gosh, what a treasure trove! I do love the Fitz - whenever we go we have a lovely time so I'm not quote sure why we don't go more frequently. This weekend you say? Hmmm.

  3. I loved it when I went back in October. A beautiful exhibition! Maybe we will have our own snow scenes this weekend!

  4. Thank you so much for the Fitz link, Celia. I wish I could just hop on a plane and the show myself...how I do love Japanese woodblock prints! Having an exhibit with a snow theme is so appealing.

    I've had a quick look just now at the link and will surely return for a longer, lingering read.

    Let me also tell you how much I like new look to your page. It's lovely!


  5. The prints are wonderful Celia, thank you so much for sharing the link!

    I too like the new look.

    Wishing you every joy in 2013 :)

  6. Thanks for the tip off, I'm hoping to pop into Cambridge this weekend, will try and find time to have a little look myself.

  7. Thanks for the link - snow in Japanese woodcuts is a wonderful thing, you can almost feel its coldness. This snowy photograph taken in 1951 by Werner Bischof has the same feeling, and silence besides -

  8. Thank you Celia! I enjoy this kind of post. Snow and woodcuts are top on my list of favourite things so this exhibition sounds perfect.


    ps I always get a thrill when I look at the woodcut I purchased from you last year.

  9. Dear Celia - I was sent to your blog by Stephanie having written about snow in paintings.
    I love what I see, and wish I was nearer to Cambridge to visit the exhibition.
    I am now following you - I like the name of your blog as I collect, would you believe, pea pods, and have a purple podded ceramic one. My son is also a printmaker.

  10. I thought I had said thank you for the Fitz link. Yes, they do it very well indeed!
    And those prints-ahh!Love the snow fight.Especially in our ghastly heatwave.

  11. I wish I had been able to see these when I last visited Cambridge!


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