Keisai Masayoshi 北尾政美 and Baitei Kakei 梅亭華溪, artists. Keisai Sōga Vol. 2 蕙斎麁画. early 1840s.Nagoya Eirakuya Tōshirō 永楽屋東四郎. 21.3 x 15.3cm string-bound Japanese-style, fukuro-toji in embossed green, replacement wrappers. Title slip appears to be modern over the original slip. Advertisements for other books on rear end papers. The title page with woodblock illustration reads Sōga Nihen v.2 麁画 二編, and the introduction begins with Keisai Sōga Nihen v.2 蕙斎麁画 二編. Published posthumously, a second edition.
This charming “Sketches of Keisai'' is a 22 cho volume of original, color woodblock prints by artist Keisai Masayoshi 北尾政美 (also Kitao Masayoshi). The work includes an introduction in Japanese script, the aforementioned advertisements and title page, and single page, two-per-page and one double-page woodcuts. Small sketches of botanicals, landscapes and creatures capture real and imagined moments in nature: a cat curled up asleep in the grass, a blooming flower, a sun rising/setting behind a mountain range, a perfectly formed radish, huts on the side of hill, a single stalk of bamboo, three frogs convening over a bottle of sake, among others. Of special mention is the use of the à la poupée technique, where different colors are applied to different areas of a single block. Mitchell (p. 355) confirms Baitei Kakei 梅亭華溪 as the artist for volume 2. Comparable to the Pulverer copy, with the exception of a page of advertisements on their inside front wrapper. Ours has one and a half sheets of advertisements from the Nagoya publisher Eirakuya Tōshirō 永楽屋東四郎 as the final sheet and inside back cover that correspond with those in Forrer p.116, graphic 24a. The ads point to a date of early 1840s, as the same ads as ours appeared in books printed in 1842.
Modern string on binding, slight wear to wrappers. Small sticker on top right corner with “Paul Mays” in ink and remnants of other stickers. Chipping on top front forecorner. Dust soiled on the bottom of pages. Rear end paper detached at corner. Nice impressions.