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Visit to the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

November 3rd, 2022

Bonsai Kai was most fortunate to be able to arrange a special visit to the exhibition ‘Japan Courts and Culture’ at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace on 3 November 2022. Rachel Peat, the Assistant Curator who had created this exhibition, arranged to meet us and tell us about it.

The exhibition was originally planned to coincide with a state visit by the Emperor and Empress to Queen Elizabeth II in 2021 but sadly the Covid pandemic intervened and the state visit was postponed.

During our visit to the exhibition Rachel Peat showed us illustrations relating to bonsai that she had unearthed in the Royal Collection as a consequence of an earlier conversation that she had with Colin Ellis and these are displayed below.

Interested in joining us?
Beautiful Bonsai

Past meetings

Haru and Togu
Frances C Fairman (1836-1923)

Haru and Togo: miniature red and white Japanese spaniels belonging to Queen Alexandra

1910 (Signed and dated 1910)

Oil on canvas

Royal Collection Inventory Number 402316

Queen Alexandria Graphic
Graphic, 6 June 1908, Queen Alexandra

Also: 'Japan's Gift to Britain', Daily Express,4 November 1910, "A number of the most interesting national exhibits, estimated to be worth £50,000, at the Japan-British Exhibition at Shepher'ds Bush, have been presented to corporations and individuals in this country by the Imperial Japanese Govenrment. The beautiful model of the shrine of the second Tokugawa Shogun, has been presented to the King by the City of Tokyo, and will find a resting place at Buckingham Palace...The Japanese summer house, erected by the Forestry Department of the Japanese Govenrment, has been given as a memento of the exhibition to Prince Arthur of Connaught, and will be erected in the grounds at agshot. Queen Alexandra has taken a great interest in the little forest of dwarf trees, and a number of them will be offered to her." 


Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh 1869
Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh 1869

Stayed at the Enryokan in Tokyo:
“In front of the house...the space had been converted into a lawn, ornamented with beautiful dwarf trees and rare plants. A large and thoroughly illustrative collection of dwarf trees and plants in beautiful and valuable vases of Owari and Satsuma porcelain, ornamented the terrace.” The Times – ‘The Duke of Edinburgh in Japan and China’, 1 December 1869

Unknown Person

'En-Rio-Kwan'; Enryōkan

1881
Hand-coloured albumen print
9.6 x 14.0 cm (image)
Royal Collection Inventory Number 2580942

1906 Garter Mission to Japan, by Prince Arthur of Connaught
1906 Garter Mission to Japan, by Prince Arthur of Connaught

A. B. Mitford recalled a display of ‘a competition in what is called Hako-Niwa, literally translated Box-garden. Into a porcelain dish, tray or huge bowl was to be set forth the similitude in miniature of a beautiful landscape... This was the setting for dwarf trees, pines, cypresss, flowering cherries, plums and peaches...trunks cut off in every pictureseque shape, and arranged in such a dainty fashion – Mitford, The Garter Mission to Japan, p. 97

British Museum number 1936,0930,0.1.2

Grove & Boulton, 174 Brompton Road, London
Grove & Boulton, 174 Brompton Road, London
Queen Alexandra's Studio, Marlborough House [Marlborough House, 1912]

1912
Platinum print
24.1 x 29.2 cm (image)
Royal Collection Inventory Number 2102023

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