highlights international perspective

Katharine Jowett, (English, ca. 1890-1965)

Street in Peking

Color linoleum block print with oil-based inks printed on fine laid paper. Signed in pencil on lower right margin, Katharine Jowett. Self-carved and self-printed by the artist in Peking, ca. 1930's.

22.3 by 15.7 cm

References:
Meech, Japonisme: Graphic Arts in the 20th Century, in The New Wave, 1993, pp 50-51
Devereux, www.hanga.com, 2008

Katharine Jowett was born in Devon, England around 1890. Her father, Reverend Timothy Wheatley, was a minister at the Mint Methodist Church in Exeter. She followed a Methodist missionary to China with whom she thought she was in love, but changed her mind and instead married Hardy Jowett, a member of the British community in Peking. The Jowetts set up house in Peking and had two sons.

Very little is known about Jowett's artistic training, if she had any at all. Somehow she managed to learn how to carve and print color linoleum cuts. There are approximately twenty-five known designs, some issued in limited editions, and all of which depict scenes in and around Peking. She tended to work in small sizes (which no doubt simplified the process), and always framed her designs with a thick border reminiscent of the arts and crafts style. She never used a black outline block; her compositions tended to be impressionistic with color built up in layers suggestive of an impressionist oil painting.

It is thought that Jowett made the majority of her prints during the 1930's. After her husband, Hardy Jowett, passed away in 1936, Katharine remained in Peking. In 1940 the influential shin-hanga collector and dealer, Robert Muller, took tea with Jowett at her home. Presumably it was upon this occasion that Muller acquired the Jowett prints which were in his collection. Not long after Muller's visit, the war caught up with the expatriates in Peking, and Jowett was interred by the Japanese, where she met a German baron in the prisoner-of-war camp with whom she had a relationship but never married. After the war Jowett returned to England to live near her family. She continued to paint, but no longer produced prints.

kikumon

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