The Tokaido Road – Nigel Caple

This lecture will chart the course of the famous highway, from Tokyo to Kyoto, weaving together various stories from over four centuries of travel. Caple will examine the history of the Tokaido, discussing aspects of the development of the road by the Tokugawa shogunate and its condition today. Famous incidents that have taken place along the route, such as at Hakone and Namamugi, will be used to illustrate the realities of the journey itself.

The lecture will also incorporate an overview of some of those artists who have left visual records of the Tokaido road and its history. From printmakers to photographers, a range of images will be presented to help the audience visualise the road’s changing geography. Particular focus will be given to Utagawa Hiroshige’s famous series The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokkaido, and also to Felice Beato’s 19th century photographs taken along the route.

The lecture concludes by considering the impact and legacy of the Tokaido, both inside and outside Japan. From film documentaries to novels and poems, Japanese and foreign artists alike have been enchanted by the long and rich history of this famous sea road.

Nigel Caple is a painter, teaching and lecturing in London. After studying at Portsmouth he received a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the UK and Japan with his various painting projects frequently receiving sponsorship. Nigel was a Co-ordinator for International Relations in Japan where he was subsequently invited to create an exhibition he titled An Exhibition of Works by Eight British Artists 1919-1992. He also traveled the Tokaido in Japan making drawings for a series of paintings, culminating in a touring exhibition with lectures entitled The 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road. Locations included the University of Hertfordshire and the British Museum.

Date: Monday 15 April 2013, 6.45pm
Venue: The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St), London WC1A 2TH
Fee: Free – booking recommended

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