When we think of Japanese prints it’s usually ukiyo-e, traditional ‘floating world’ woodblock prints of actors and kimono-clad beauties, that come to mind. But Henry Sotheran’s current show of twentieth century Japanese prints includes not just traditionally-made woodblock prints of flowers and landscapes, but Studio Ghibli storyboards and hand drawn anime and manga cels as well. They’re for sale, and they’re pretty reasonably priced.
Henry Sotheran Ltd is book and print seller on Sackville St, just off Piccadilly. It has a long and distinguished history – it was founded in York in 1761 and established itself in London in 1815. The firm bought the library of Laurence Sterne in 1768, and Charles Dickens’s library in 1870. For all their long history, they say they aim for ‘a relaxing and convivial atmosphere’ and I certainly found them friendly and helpful, so don’t be put off going in by the slightly Dickensian appearance of the shop.
Inside it’s an Aladdin’s cave of books and prints, some on display, others stored in wooden cabinets.
The Japanese prints are on show in the basement. There are plenty of lovely flower prints by Shodo Kawarazaki ranged around the walls, all very reasonably priced at £180.
Or, at an even more bargain price of £45, you could get one of these smaller designs by Kodo Kawarazaki.
These lily of the valley are by Kaichi Kobayashi, priced at £180. They’ve already been snapped up by one early buyer.
More striking and unusual is this original offset lithograph in a numbered edition of 180. It’s titled Beauty with a Mirror, it’s by Ichiro Tsuruta and I’m afraid it will set you back £3,045.
Still, most prices aren’t in anything like that bracket, and if you take the time to delve into the piles of smaller prints you can find some lovely things. Like this sinuous comet fish by Kunio Kaneko at £190.
Or this cat by Sadanobu Hasegawa at £180.
Or the print at the top of this post, Gion in Spring by Tomikichiro Tokuriki, priced at £100.
The anime cels were fascinating too. This display includes cels from Brave Police J-Decker by Shinji Takamatsu (£100 each, top left and right) and from Salamander by Hisayuki Toriumi (£130, bottom left).
Reading from top to bottom in the picture below:
Red Shadow: The Masked Ninji by Hiroyuki Nakano £80.
First of the North Star by Tetsuo Hara £260
Blond Girl by an unknown artist £110.
You can get original Studio Ghibli storyboards too – for example Totoro storyboards are priced at £40.
The exhibition continues until 1st May and Sotheran’s is open Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.