061104. 3/46, Thirty-six Views of Bath Abbey. My tribute to Hokusai’s Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

November 4, 2006 at 12:26 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bridges, Cathedrals and churches, doorways, Fugaku Sanju Rokkei, Hokusai, Sculpture, Ships, Waterfront | 9 Comments



This is probably one of the most popular photo compositions taken (and retaken) in Bath by residents and tourists alike, so without further ado I’ll give you the popular guide’s account:

“[A]long York Street, on the left is Bath City Laundry, 1887-1888, by C. E. Davis, adapted from a dissenting chapel. The ground floor has unfluted Ionic pilasters and above is a fanciful Baroque attic story with pilasters supported on animal head consoles. This returns to form an elliptical-arched ‘bridge’ over York Street, linking with the Queen’s Bath, through which hot water was piped from the spring into the laundry. ” –Michael Forsyth, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 109.

Both the Hokusai prints and the city of Bath were largely created for tourists of different ages. I therefore do not feel guilty in merely quoting a guidebook to explain that Bath’s triumphal-like arch/gate to be in fact a fancy water pipe, exporting the byproduct of Bath’s namesake to a neighboring industry while framing the Abbey.

Hokusai also adds a decorated gate to frame Mt. Fuji while he inhabits his composition with characters interacting with and carrying water.

FYI: Hokusai’s more or less abstract series does not feature any blatant night shots. I suppose he was just stingy with the ink.

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