Wheaton College’s Permanent Collection is home to a collection of beautiful Japanese woodblock prints that were donated to what was then Wheaton Female Seminary in 1897. Employed by Mrs. Wheaton, Eleanor Norcross, Class of 1872, traveled abroad to select prints to be given to the Seminary Art Collection. Among the works she selected are prints by several notable and widely renowned artists including Hokusai, Utamaro, Hiroshige, and Harunobu, who were some of the most masterful ukiyo-e artists within the canon.
A befitting gift of art to a teaching institution, Mrs. Wheaton’s donation of prints showcases a variety of subjects including animals, courtesans, family scenes, and scenic views, both rural and urban. Some of the works date back to the Edo Period (1603-1868) while others were created after 1868 in the early years of the Meiji Period. Today, centuries after they were produced, these prints provide a glimpse into the everyday life, ceremonies, and landscapes of 17th-19th century Japan.
-Mandy Prue, Class of 2016