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

061031.2.Somset.Bath

Noboto-ura

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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  1. this is such a great idea! i am impressed and look forward to more of your interpretations.

  2. maybe its coz i am upside down…?

  3. […] ?[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 elliptic … So good. what do you think?Link to original article […]

  4. This is a wonderful sight to see. I love blog photos from round the world and really like yours today.

  5. Nice comparision!! Wonderful!!
    One of techniques in designing the garden in Japan is Shakkei, borrowed scenery: a technique that incorporates the surrounding natural beauty, like the mountain, or forest, into the garden itself. The distant view becomes an essential element of the landscape composition. Entsuji in Kyoto is famous for its Shakkei.

  6. “…I suppose he was just stingy with the ink.”
    I find you have a sense of humour!!hahaha..

    The gate Hokusai drew is usually built to be a temple’s gate, and the building in the photo you took is just near the Abbey. Have you thought about this point of view?

    Great comparison!!

  7. its a very creative work to make this comparison. You made me think!:)

  8. Very nice lighting effect.

  9. Because I know you always need more to worry about:

    The top photo- the one of Bath Abbey- is not showing up. If you ever have time, access to your original photo, an internet connection, and motivation… you might consider re-uploading the photo. This Hokusai series is really a unique and interesting project, and it’s a bit of a shame that it’s slightly incomplete.

    …Then again, my computer might be acting up right now, and everyone else in the world except me can see the photo.


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