Utagawa Hiroshige II, Two views of Mt. Fuji from the Sumida River, a pair of hanging scroll paintings


British Museum

British Museum

The Sumida River in Edo was a place of amusement for all social groups: artisans and merchants lived close to its banks and feudal lords had their summer villas there. Samurai too flocked from the upper class Yamanote district. These scrolls of spring and summer scenes show (on the right) a pair of geisha enjoying cherry blossom on the embankment near Mimeguri shrine. On the left scroll two geisha are shown boarding a boat for a trip with a patron. Beyond is the famous landmark of Ryōgoku Bridge, and a fresh green willow tree lends a feeling of cool to the days of early summer. In the background Mt. Fuji can be clearly seen still with a topping of snow. In modern times, it is normally hidden behind a cloud of pollution unless a strong wind clears the atmosphere.

Hiroshige II (1826-69), previously known as Suzuki Shigenobu, was the pupil and adopted son of the renowned Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). The pupil faithfully continues Hiroshige's techniques in this pair of hanging scrolls: the landscape backgrounds are done in a soft wash, while the figures are picked out in splashes of brighter colour.

The signature reads 'Hiroshige hitsu' ('the brush of Hiroshige'). The seal reads 'Nisei Ichiryūsai Hiroshige gain' ('painting seal of the second-generation Ichiryūsai Hiroshige').

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  • Title: Utagawa Hiroshige II, Two views of Mt. Fuji from the Sumida River, a pair of hanging scroll paintings
  • Date Created: 1865/1894
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 88.80cm; Width: 29.80cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: landscape
  • Registration number: 1913,0501,0.298-299
  • Production place: Painted in Japan
  • Producer: Attributed to Hiroshige III, Utagawa. Formerly attributed to Hiroshige II
  • Period/culture: Edo Period; Meiji Era
  • Material: silk
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Gwynne-Evans, William. Previous owner/ex-collection Morrison, Arthur


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