Japonisme in Britain: a source of inspiration; J. McN. Whistler, Mortimer Menpes, George Henry, E.A. Hornell and nineteenth century Japan

Ono, Ayako (2001) Japonisme in Britain: a source of inspiration; J. McN. Whistler, Mortimer Menpes, George Henry, E.A. Hornell and nineteenth century Japan. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b1988933


This thesis explores Japanese influences on British Art and will focus on four artists working in Britain: the American James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), the Australian Mortimer Menpes (1855-1938), and two artists from the group known as the Glasgow Boys, George Henry (1858-1934) and Edward Atkinson Hornel (1864-1933). Whistler was one of the earliest figures who incorporated Japanese elements in his art but never visited Japan; Menpes visited the country and learned Japanese artistic methods from a Japanese artist; Henry and Hornel visited Japan and responded to Japanese photography mass-produced for foreign market. The purpose of this thesis is to consider how Western artists understood and accepted Japanese art as a source of inspiration. To emphasise and support my view that Japanese art was one of the sources of inspiration for the creation of European art, I will also discuss western influences on Japanese art in the second half of the nineteenth century since this movement, supported by the Japanese government, is a good comparison with Japonisme. The historical background of Japonisme will be discussed in chapter one with a variety of examples taken from decorative art, paintings and cartoons. These examples have been chosen from the works of artists who were associated with the Aesthetic Movement and interested in the improvement of Design, since the early stages Japonisme in Britain was developed by leading figures of these movements. The breadth of the phenomenon is too wide to be included in any one thesis so theatre, music, architecture, sculpture or photography are not included. I will examine the essence of Japonisme by making comparisons between Whistler, Menpes, and Henry and Hornel. For the sake of consistency in these comparisons, I am going to concentrate on pictorial art. However, Menpes' studio-house with its Japanese decoration is also going to be discussed since despite his wish to recreate an authentic Japanese interior, he did not understand the fundamental basis of Japanese architecture, so that the result was superficial. The artists have been chosen and discussed as follows.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: MacDonald, Dr. Margaret F.
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-30763
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2018 15:47
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2018 15:48
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30763

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