~~ The Graphic ~~
1894, Volume 2
Images from G. Bigot Sketches

 


G. Bigot Sketch Art, "A Run Ashore in Japan"

 
Bigot, Ferninand Georges (sketches:
The Graphic, An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, London, Graphic Office, Folio, 1894, Volume 2 (semi-annual bound volume) spanning whole numbers 1284 (July 7, 1894) through 1308 (December 22, 1894). Three weekly issues (1287-9 - July ~ August) are missing. Starts at page 1 and ends at page 728 but is missing pages 85-172 (87 pp) for a total of 640+ pages. Supplements are not counted in the page total.

The September 1 issue (1292) contains a supplement that has two color plates after sketches by G. Bigot. These are titled "A Run Ashore in Japan" which are a satirical view of the adventures (misadventures) of a British marine who is on a "dining" mission in Tokyo. The two plates present 10 vignettes with each one described in the captions below. This type of color plate is sometimes call a color lithograph. However, I believe that this is a color woodblock type plate manufactured using a process which was developed for mass publication use by the Illustrated London News in the late 1850s.

In this bound volume, I found 11 illustrations with Bigot's signature incorporated into the image. Additionally the bound volume contains a total of 45 (probably more) images relating to Japan or Japanese Military operations in Korea.

 

 
A seven page supplement to the Oct 27 issue (1300) deals with Japanese military operations in Korea and introduces G. Bigot as "The Graphic Special Artist with the Japanese Forces." Several war scenes in Korea sketched by Bigot are presented in the supplement. Also a seldom seen woodcut engraved portrait of Bigot (shown below) is presented.

Georges Bigot

 
There was a keen interest regarding Japan in Great Britain and that is reflected in the pages of this weekly paper. It is reported that during the period from the papers founding in 1869 through 1910, Japan related articles/illustrations can be found on more than 1,000 separate pages of the publication (see, Old Japan, Catalogue 29, February 1999, item 126). Georges Bigot, the French artist residing in Japan from 1882-1899, was a contributor. Illustrations are predominately wood engravings and halftone reproductions but included an occasional color plate.

Images relating to Japan or Japanese Military Operations

    1290 (18 Aug)
  • The Manners and Customs of the Police in Japan. C.W. Cole RN (4 views)
  • 1291 (25 Aug)

  • Foreign Notes - The War in the Far East, Japan China War, at page 207
  • 1292 (1 Sep)

  • A Run Ashore in Japan (Supplement) 2 color plates after page 254

    First Plate

    1. On landing at Yokohama he is at once set upon by the jinriksha men, who persuade him that riding is much more pleasant than walking
    2. Finding Yokohama rather uninteresting, he drives to the station to go to Tokio
    3. Off to Tokio
    4. On arrival he strolls through the streets, and creates quite a sensation
    5. Thinking he would like a meal a la Japanese, he goes to an inn. Greatly to his astonishment, they will not hear of his entering unless he first removes his boots
    6. Which he reluctantly does
    A RUN ASHORE IN JAPAN

    Second Plate

    7. By means of signs he makes it understood that he is hungry. The innkeeper imitates his action by way of showing that he understands
    8. While he is waiting to be served, not knowing the orthodox way of seating himself, he lies down on the mats
    9. The maids bring food, but neither chairs nor tables. His attempts to cat with the funny little bamboo sticks cause considerable amusement
    10. At last they take pity on him and improvise a seat. He fares not so badly after all
    A RUN ASHORE IN JAPAN

    Close up

    Signature

  • 1296 (29 Sep)

  • War in the East. Military Preparations in Japan, woodcut illustration, 3 views one being "A Cyclist Belonging to the Intelligence Department of the Japanese Army, at page 360
  • The Mikado Passes, woodcut illustration, drawn by John Carlton, at page 364

  • 1298 (13 Oct)

  • Mikado Reviewing Troops & War in the East. Japanese on the March, woodcut illustrations, front page, page 1417
  • War in the East. Group of Japanese Officers from the Cruiser "Chiyoda" by W. Ralston, 1/3 page illustration at page 420
  • War in the East. Facsimiles of Sketches Drawn by Japanese Artists, woodcut illustration at page 429
  • 1299 (20 Oct)

  • War in the East. Landing of Japanese Troops at Chempulo, front page, page 449
  • Festival of Nichiban at Kegami Japan, 3 text illustrations, page 463
  • 1300 (27 Oct)

  • Seven page "Supplement" to issue, includes a portrait of G. Bigot, "Special Artist for the Graphic Accompanying Japanese Forces" (in Korea), (Supplement p 1- 7) with 11 different sketches/photo reproductions in halftone (6) and woodcut (5), including a double page sketch of "Bringing the Wounded from the Front After a Skirmish During a Reconnaissance" (Bigot). Five of the 11 images contain Bigot's signature

  • 1301 (3 Nov)

  • Article (no illustrations) titled "Toilet in Japan" by Douglas Sladen describing the woman's dress and make-up/beauty activities, at page 522
  • 1302 (10 Nov)

    1303 (17 Nov)

  • War in the East. Facsimiles of Sketches Drawn by Japanese Artists, woodcut illustration at page 581
  • 1304 (24 Nov)

  • War in the East. A Street Scene in Tokio, halftone, at page 600
  • 1305 (1 Dec)

  • On the March to Ping Yang (Bigot) halftone at page 620
  • After the Fight at Ping Yang (Bigot) halftone, at page 621
  • The Battlefield at Ping Yang, woodcut, double page by W. Small and Frank Dadd, at pages 628-9
  • Japanese Warships (1 page with 8 halftone images) in supplement
  • The Great Naval Engagement of the Mouth of the Yalu in supplement (woodcut)
  • 1306 (8 Dec)

  • Japanese Coolies Threading Corean Cash (halftone) at page 644
  • The Japanese Gunboat "Akagi" (halftone) at page 648
  • The Red Cross Society's Hospital at Chemulpo & Vedettes of Japanese Cavalry (both Bigot) at page 652
  • A Japanese Cemetery on the Field of Battle (Bigot) at page 653
  • 1307 (13 Dec)

  • War in the East. Japanese Infantry Scouts Making a Reconnaissance Near Ping Yang, halftone, at page 669 (Bigot)
  • 1308 (22 Dec)

  • War in the East. Japanese Soldiers Sinking a Well, woodcut, at page 708 (Bigot)
  • War in the East. Japanese Soldiers on the March to Seoul, halftone, at page 709 (Bigot)

 

 

Georges Bigot

Georges Bigot, ca 1894
(1860-1927)

 
Georges Bigot, a French painter and sketch artist, resided in Japan from 1882-1899. Initially he taught drawing at the National Military Academy. He married in Japan and had a son, Maurice. Georges Bigot and Charles Wirgman (See The Japan Punch) are both noted for their satirical sketch art in Japan. In Japan, Bigot's art appeared in a number of works. It is said that he published over 30 books/albums with his sketch art. Additionally, it is believed that he published or contributed to over 100 different periodicals (most in Japan and a few in Europe). It has been reported that Bigot was engaged in amateur photography in Japan but I have found no photographic images attributed to him recorded in publications or offered on the market. In 1899 he divorced his wife, Masu, and departed Japan with his son. He returned to France where he remarried and began a career producing satirical drawings (Epinal prints), sketches for magazines and later landscape paintings. Many of the landscapes were of Japanese scenes. For a listing of books and periodicals associated with Georges Bigot, click here. Two recent articles regarding Georges Bigot are outlined below.

Bigot's work in Japan was multi-faceted. He produced individual works for patrons, very limited edition books of etchings and mass marketed works in lithograph form. He worked in several mediums (water color paintings, sketches, etchings and lithographs) across a wide spectrum of subjects. He lived in Japan during an era of rapid modernization and assimilation of Western technology, ideas, values and styles. Much of his work appears to be an effort to capture images of the old pre-modernization Japan. On the other hand, he was keenly aware of where Japan was headed and sought to show that in his work. These images tend to be more in the nature of satire and along the line of what we now call cartoons.

In art published in France, Bigot would sometimes add the following Japanese signature to his work:

 
Books and Articles on Georges Bigot.

 


1987 - Bigot Exhibition in Japan and Paris

Georges Bigot: Ill y a cent ansa, nun artiste Francis auk Japan, Tokyo, Reunion desk Musees Japonais and Journal Yomiuri, 1987, square 8vo (9 x 9 1/2 in - 23 x 24 cm), text in Japanese and French, soft wraps, front cover illustrated with Bigot painting of a young lady carrying a child, 773 numbered illustrations of Bigot's work, 198 pp. An exhibition catalogue. This exhibition toured Japan and Paris from March through October of 1987. The catalogue is divided into two parts - works in color (386 numbered illustrations) and works in black and white (387 numbered illustrations).Often a numbered illustration contains sub-parts so there are far more than the 773 numbered illustrations. At the back are two sections with notes on each numbered illustration. The color illustrations show Bigot's works in Japan in water color, oil on canvas and pen & ink. The black and white illustrations show Bigot's sketch work as depicted in actual drawings or contained in various published formats (etchings, reproduced in lithograph and photo-mechanically reproduced). While Bigot's work before and after Japan are shown in this part, the vast majority are from the period when he lived in Japan. The black and white section also reproduces 6 photographs (#339) which appear to be his wife and son. A important and richly illustrated listing of Georges Bigot work in Japan. To see the cover, click here.

 
 


2002 - Daruma, Georges Bigot Article (Epinal Prints)
Available - Purchase Here

Shigeru, Oikawa:
Georges Bigot's Secret Life as an Epinal Print Artist, published in Daruma, Japanese Art & Antiques Magazine, Issue 33, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2002, Japan, 8vo, illustrated stiff wraps, 58 pp. The article on Georges Bigot covers pages 37 to 46. It is illustrated with 18 figures. A discussion of Georges Bigot's work after he returned to France in 1899. The "Epinal Prints" were color lithographs of a cartoon type nature presenting short stories/tales. They received the name because they were produced by the Jean-Charles Pellerin in the town of Epinal in France. Many of the prints were anonymous but Bigots name or identification is contained in some. Many but not all of the Bigot prints depict Japanese scenes. Other articles in this issue deal with Maki-e lacquer items, Netsuke carvers and Namikawa Sosuke. To see the cover of this issue, click here.

 
 


2002 - Daruma, Georges Bigot Article
Available - Purchase Here

Tamio, Ikeda
Gallery Tamakaya (illustrations):
Georges Bigot's Passion for Japan, published in Daruma, Japanese Art & Antiques Magazine, Issue 35, Vol. 9, No. 3, Summer 2002, Japan, 8vo, illustrated stiff wraps, 58 pp. The article on Georges Bigot covers pages 38 to 45. It is illustrated with 16 images. An informative and finely illustrated discussion of the French artist, Georges Bigot, with the primary focus on the 17+ years (1882-1899) he spent in Japan. An important reference work for the collector of Bigot's work. Several of the illustrations reflect Bigot's work in the satirical "Toba-e" form of sketch art. Other articles in this issue deal with Japanese Combs and Hairpins and Japanese Ceramic Tea Jars. To see the cover of this issue, click here.

 


2001 & 2003 - Japanese Books on Georges Bigot

Shimizu, Isao (editor):
Bigo Sobyoshu, Iwanami Bunko (2003) and Zoku Bigo Sobyoshu, Iwanami Bunko (2001), Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten.

 
 


2002 - Georges Bigot, French Artist in Japan

Images de L'ere -- Le Monde de Georges Bigot, un Artiste Francqis au Japon, ("Images of the Meiji Era - The World of Georges Bigot, a French Artist in Japan"), 2002, Kawasaki, Japan, Yamakawa Company, 4to, soft cover with illustrated dust jacket, 192 pp. Extensively illustrated in color and black and white. Covers Bigot's works in France before and after 20 years in Japan as well as his books, drawings, sketches and paintings while in Japan. Also provides biographical information on Bigot. In Japanese except for some captions to images which also include the English translation. A comprehensive review of Bigots work including his paintings, drawings (many published in The Graphic, La Vie Moderne and Journal des Voyages), satirical art and books. To see the dust jacket, click here. ISBN 4-634-60590-2.

 

 


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