Thursday 6 January 2011


We bought this pair of Japanese woodblock prints when we were living in an old farmhouse with a rather magical, ramshackle garden. To the north of the house there was a rise of ground planted with mature trees that gave shelter to the rest of the garden. Birds flew low past our windows and the woodblocks, from a far country and another century, accurately depicted the space around us.
These are not very good photographs, as my reflection in the glass interferes with the image. The woodblocks are handprinted by Watanabe Seitei (1851-1919) and are dated around 1890. The undergrowth in the blackbird print is especially delicate, and the juxtaposition of the black shape of the bird and the red maker's mark is very pleasing. 

Himself made this carving as a response to the print. It hangs on the landing and he's not allowed to sell it!

        "White Blackbird" bas-relief limewood carving,  21 x 32 inches by Peter Murphy.


  1. The prints are lovely! What a find! The craving....what talent. I love the different textures. It is fabulous!

  2. Myself, loves that carving! I wish I could get a better handle on the scale. It's hard to imagine it's 32 inches wide. That's like my television.

  3. The prints are very delicate...
    but I must confess that I am swooning over the jug and bowl!

  4. The prints are have such a wonderful sense of style.
    I would love to see the carving in full scale - I can't imagine having the talent or the patience to accomplish such a lovely piece.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wonderful prints and wonderful carving - you must be very proud of Himself, Cher.

  6. Hello All,
    Steve, I think I might call you, 'Yourself' from now on!
    The wash set with soap dish are by Ridgways and it's described as Royal skim porcelain, "Fantasia' design. There is a maker's mark, but I don't know what it means. I bought it in the 60's to celebrate the successful job interview that first brought us to the West Country.
    There is so much of our shared life in many of the carvings that I'm not always happy when they are sold. On the other hand, we don't have any wall space left!

  7. I am a lover of Japanese block prints, Chinese silks...probably due to the strong Asian influence in Hawaii. I love these, graceful, serene..and the carving is gorgeous, I wish I could reach out and touch it...thank you!