Flower of the TeaZoom In
Japan a Record in ColourZoom In
Flower of the Tea, bool illustrationZoom In

Flower of the Tea by Mortimer Menpes

Menpes spent 8 months in Japan, in 1887, keen to study Japanese art and to immerse himself in Japanese life. He produced numerous small sketches during his visit, including this one - the Flower of the Tea. On his return, some of these sketches were worked up into more finished paintings, often oil on panel. Thus, 140 paintings and 40 etchings relating to the Japan trip were exhibited at the Dowdeswell Gallery, London, from April-June, 1888, to considerable acclaim (the exhibition being dedicated to James McNeill Whistler). Today, Tate Britain holds one of these oils - the Flower of the Tea. Though larger than our sketch, the composition is very close. Dowdeswell's catalogue entry in 1888 explains that this image depicted the, 'exterior of a tea-house. The mistress of the house peeling fruit. On the table at the side are vessels containing sugar-waters.'

The Flower of the Tea was also refined, as an illustration for the book, Japan, a Record in Colour, which Mortimer Menpes produced with his daughter, Dorothy, and published in 1901. The image appears, facing page 80, in this handsome volume (shown here for reference).

Watercolour and bodycolour
Size Unframed:
4¾ins x 3½ins
12cms x 9cms
Size Framed:
12¾ins x 11ins
32.5cms x 28cms