Japan: A Record in Colour – Mortimer & Dorothy Menpes (1905)


Japan: A Record in Colour – Mortimer & Dorothy Menpes (1905)


With over 100 watercolour illustrations of Japan.

Title: Japan: A Record in Colour

Author: Dorothy Menpes, Mortimer Menpes (illus)

Publisher: Adam & Charles Black, 1905. First edition, 5th impression.

Condition: Hardcover, cloth. Very good. Slight sunning to spine. Slight foxing to book. Inscription to ffep, and small bookseller’s sticker to endpaper. All 75 colour plates come with a tissue guard each, and are in pristine condition. 207pp. App 9″ by 6″. A heavy book, overseas shipping will cost extra.

SKU: japan-colour Categories: , , Tag:

Part of publisher A & C Black’s Colour Books: Twenty Shilling Series, which is a series of profusely-illustrated, high-quality books, mostly about travels around the world. Japan: A Record in Colour was first published in 1901, and this is a reprint from 1905, which contains all the 100 watercolour reproductions of the original. Each illustrated plates is protected by a tissue guard.

About the artist (from Wikipedia):

Mortimer Luddington Menpes (22 February 1855 – 1 April 1938), was an Australian-born artist, author, printmaker and illustrator.

In 1900, after the outbreak of the Boer War, Menpes was sent to South Africa as a war artist for the weekly illustrated magazine Black and White. After the end of the war in 1902 he travelled widely, visiting Burma, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Japan, Kashmir, Mexico, Morocco, and Spain. Many of his illustrations were published in travel books by A & C Black. His book on the Delhi Durbar was an illustrated record of the commemoration in Delhi of the coronation of King Edward VII.

Menpes became a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers (RE) in 1881, Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) in 1885, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) in 1897 and Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) in 1899.

Menpes painted in oil and watercolour as well as being a prolific printmaker, producing over 700 etchings and drypoints during his career to great acclaim. A definitive catalog raisonne of his printed works was published in 2012 which also included an extensive biography and his exhibition history.

He developed a special form of colour etching and exhibited coloured etchings at Dowdeswell’s Gallery in London in late 1911/early 1912. He was also a pioneer, with Carl Hentschel (1864–1926), in the development of techniques to reproduce coloured art works in book form. His book, ‘War Impressions’, published in April 1901 by A. & C. Black, was the first book to faithfully reproduce art works in color, based on watercolors done by Menpes in South Africa, and therefore was the forerunner of all illustrated art books. Menpes also founded the Menpes Press of London and Watford to produce colored illustrated books using the Hentschel Colourtype Process, which was a photographic process that involved taking three photographs of an art work using three different color filters (red, blue and yellow) and then combining them in the printing process. Menpes was a great traveler and undertook artistic journeys to Japan, China, Burma, Cashmere, Mexico, India, Turkey, Palestine and Egypt as well as within Europe to Brittany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and other places, often returning from such travels to mount exhibitions of his works. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Menpes also produced the “Menpes Series of Great Masters”, which were copies by him of works by Old Masters such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck and others which were reproduced in printed form for sale. In 1911, Menpes donated 38 of his copies in oil to the Australian Government; these works have subsequently become part of the Pictures Collection at the National Library of Australia.