Eagle on a rock above a stream

About this object

Ishibashi Kazunori studied with Katei for five years and was one of his top students. In teacher's final years, Ishibashi assisted with major commissions of screen paintings. In Katei's workshop, Ishibashi received a thorough training in traditional techniques of Japanese bird-and-flower painting, but times were changing and he was determined to learn oil painting. Ishibashi arrived in Britain in 1904, aged 26, and the following year he was the first Japanese student to enrol at the Royal Academy. Despite becoming an accomplished portrait painter in oils, exhibiting repeatedly with a wide variety of sitters, he found there was just as much demand for his Japanese-style works. This hanging scroll painting was acquired by the prominent collector of Japanese art in London, Arthur Morrison, and may have been painted while Ishibashi was in London. The main motif of the eagle is based on a drawing from the group which Ishibashi brought with him to England, but he has transposed the bird from a branch of a pine tree to a rocky outcrop, rendered in the blue-and-green technique of Chinese painting. The composition is considerably simplified, making the majestic bird the sole focus, but the mountains and waterfall in the background provide a sense of depth. Morrison's painting collection was purchased by a benefactor and donated to the British Museum in 1913.
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