Boston: J.B. Millet Co. Folio. Item #027457
The Shogun Edition limited to only 25 lettered copies of which this is Letter "M". In 10 volumes. With an essay on Japan art by Kakuzo Okaura, director of the Imperial Art School at Tokyo Japan. Limitation pages within each volume. This set includes the two rare supplemental volumes The Art of Japan which were issued in 1901. Captain Brinkley's work was already being collected as early as 1903 when the Yamanaka Company featured their work in their catalog Rare Japanese Prints. In the same year, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote on the finest rare books which featured the "Shogun Edition" noting that it was issued in an edition of only 25 copies. The feature explained that each volume had an original picture by a major Japanese artist and that some were delicately printed on silk. When the estate of James A. Bailey of the Barnum and Bailey circus came on the market in 1931, this set headed the list of rare books at the George Fischer Galleries on Wilshire Boulevard. The New York Public Library announced their collection in January of 1936 as a gift from Charles Stewart Smith. In 1985, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced their acquisition of the set including the key supplement volumes The Art of Japan, Vol. 1 and 2 (which are considered volumes 11 and 12 of the Shogun edition) The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo's Tobunken Library webpage says this edition is one of their two most notable collections with the comment: "This was the set that became the introduction for Westerners to Japanese society, culture and history." Dan Johnson's article in the Bridgewater Review (Vol. 34:1) 2015 discusses its history and writes: "Some of the limited editions were so costly that only a few well-heeled individuals and institutions such as libraries and collector societies could afford them… The smaller the edition, the more extravagantly bedecked the volume. While it remains uncertain who authored all of the articles in the text, Japanese scholar Kakuzo Okakura (author of The Awakening of Japan ) was identified as one of the writers." (p. 17) The major study of the set was published in Image (Vol. 34:1) by Denise Bethel who was Sotheby's expert on photographic history. She writes: "Taken as a whole, the myriad editions of Japan Described and Illustrated represents the pinnacle of quality photographic publishing, and are deserving of bibliographic study." (p. 2). She notes why Boston with its Museum of Fine Arts had become the only major Western museum "whose Japanese department developed ahead of its collections of European and American Art". Culturally speaking, Bostonians were at the forefront of 'Japonism' a new word coined to designate a new field of study, artistic, historic, and ethnographic..[also involved were] Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard, Charles G. Loring of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Herbert Putnam" p. 6-7. Bethel goes on to note that Millet's connections to the Japanese business community must have been at a very high level since there was outside sponsorship and their representative was in Japan for six months to negotiate details. The announcement in the Japanese papers in Tokyo and Yokohama noted that at least $200,000 was involved with Japan guaranteeing 100,000 yen. The crowning point for the collector was the two volume supplement to the set The Arts of Japan that accompanied the more elaborate limited editions of the set. The American industrialist Charles Stewart Smith (1832-1909) met Brinkley in Japan and bought en bloc his photograph print collection which he presented to the New York Public Library in 1901. Later, (as noted above), he was one of the select few who acquired one of the 25 copies of the Shogun edition (Bethel, p. 7). Even J. Pierpont Morgan was only able to get a limited edition of 50 copies in the Edition De Grand Luxe (Bethel, p. 13). The printed volumes were planned and printed while Okakura Kakuzo [Note his first and last name is reversed on the printed edition] (1862-1913) who was "Director of the Imperial Art School of Tokyo, Japan" and was also an intimate friend of Isabella Stewart Gardner. Bethel says that "this was the last great book to be illustrated with original photographs." (p.13) Johnson's article goes on to describe the effort made in producing the limited editions which he says were "the most extravagant editions, issued in smaller and more expensive runs, were packed with just about everything Japanese Brinkley could manage to fit between two covers: brocaded silk boards, tasseled silk hand-tied and uncut pages "bound in the Japanese manner" (in each volume came a warning not to cut the pages apart), mica-flecked endpapers, hand-painted end boards, ukiyo-e prints, samples of lace and wallpaper patterns, and sundry other items." (Johnson, p. 28). All plates or photographs are mounted, some within mats, the larger part of the art and larger photographs are accompanied with tissue guards or printed over sheet. Bindings are of a decorative silk in various colors and worn mostly at corners and spines with some fraying to edges, some ribbon ties lacking, just a few occasional leaves with off-setting. We have taken care to note the following minute flaws in the interest of full accuracy: Vol. 5 Front free endpaper detached (present) and Black bird flying over Iris's (8 x 10") matted and detached (laid in) worm hole to outer right edge of plate not close to image. One straight-pin head sized worm hole to upper margins not affecting plates except last plate. Vol. 6. Some scattered foxing to upper edges of frontispiece Vol. 10. Last plate with closed edge tears under mat where mat had been torn. Vol. 11. Title page and following page has a crease through middle with closed edge tear to upper edges. Vol. 12. Three worm holes through margins, one minute single worm hole through three plates the size of a straight-pin head. Besides a complete collation of each item, we have an additional collation of the 201 small photos, the 66 large photographs or collotypes, and the 24 art items in terms of subject, size, and related. Note: This set will not be shipped without references from a major bookseller or art museum.