This is an invaluable guide for anyone with a real interest in Japanese prints. Although the author says her aim was to put together a reference book for readers with an interest in Utamaro, the information in this book would be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about the subjects in Japanese prints in general. It's a well researched book with an incredible amount of information, including sections about the warriors and tragic lovers that many Ukiyo-e artists drew from the most popular Kabuki plays. There's a section on the Chushingura, on Gods and legends, and a history of the Yoshiwara, and everything's divided up to make it accessible and easy to read. The appendixes are a real help for looking up names on Japanese prints such as the courtesans and tea house beauties, and there's a large selection of publisher's seals and Utamaro's signatures. This is a must read for anyone seriously interested in Japanese prints and there are a few prints in it that I'd never seen before. --David Stokes (reader review courtesy of Amazon UK)
About the Author
Gina Collia-Suzuki is an artist and writer who lives and works on the southwest coast of England. She has been an avid collector of Japanese woodblock prints, in particular those designed by Kitagawa Utamaro, for more than two decades. Initially a student of Western art, she encountered Japanese woodblock prints for the first time in 1985 and was immediately taken by their striking and bold designs, the compositional skills of their designers and the abilities of the craftsmen responsible for carving the blocks. In 1986 she met Jack Hillier, the world-renowned Ukiyo-e scholar, who became her mentor, and their friendship lasted until Hillier's passing in 1995. For more than twenty years she has devoted herself to the study of the wodblock prints of Utamaro, eventually concentrating her research on the specific subjects portrayed in his illustrated books and broadsheets.