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Hokusai

The Great Picture Book of Everything


Best known for his hugely iconic 'The Great Wave' and other famous landscape prints we honestly weren't expecting to be quite so bowled over by this collection of delicate and intricate fine ink drawings.


In his 80's Hokusai created over 103 post-card size drawings for an encyclopaedia called The Great Picture Book of Everything which for reasons unknown was never published. These intricate sketches turned up at an auction in Paris in 2019 and are now on display for the very first time at the British Museum. It's even more incredible to learn that all of the drawings would have been destroyed during the printing process if the book had been published.



Hokusai lived during the Edo period when foreign travel was banned by the military government. Hokusai's encyclopaedia let Japanese people enter faraway worlds and places they weren't permitted to visit. Even though Hokusai never left Japan he was able to explore Buddhist India and ancient China through his drawings.


With heaps of animals, emperors, dragons and mythological beasts we think this is a must for any budding artist with an eye for fine detail. It's a real gem!


British Museum

Adults £9, U16s free

Opens 30 Sept–30 Jan


Julia Colls 28 September 2021