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This large colourful series was Hiroshige’s last major work and arguably his most famous, with
several prints copied by such legendary Western artists as Vincent Van Gogh. They depict the famous sights, popular and annual events and festivals in and around Edo (present-day Tokyo) observed throughout the four seasons whose changing characteristics are so appreciated by the Japanese.

The series proved so popular with the outdoor-loving Edo dwellers that they were reproduced until the end of the 19th century, by which time the
original blocks were worn.

Consigned from a Japanese collection, this set was an early
impression, taken around 1856-58, and most were in good condition.

In the event that they failed to sell as one entry, they were to be offered in individual consecutive lots. A number of London dealers overlooked this fact and turned up late, missing bids in the following works of art section.

Elsewhere, the porcelain met with a lukewarm reception, fielding a number of casualties, but some good prices were bid for the netsuke.

Snails are not often carved as netsuke and a signed wood study of a snail by Naito Toyomasa (1773-1856) proved an
irresistible purchase when it was secured by a London dealer for £34,000 – possibly bidding on behalf of an impassioned netsuke snail collector.