S.SHOBEY のデザイン The Designs of S.Shobey

正兵衛は晩 年日本美術クラブの前身である龍池会の終身会員として有栖川宮親王総裁、伊藤博文、井 上馨、等と 日本美術の振興を図るなど大変美術に造詣が深いことで知られていました。  

明治初期のSHOBEYデザイン帳を見ると狩野派の著名な画家のデザイ ンや横浜が生んだ世界の真葛焼きで知られる親友宮川香山 とのかかわりのデッサンなどが 見られます。又日本伝統の刺し子や日本刺繍に見られる質の高いアートワークにもデザイ ンの 根源を見ることができます。
このデザイン帳には当時のジャポニズム の手本と してヨーロッパで出版されたものもあります。

さらにグローバルな見地からの 製品化されたテキスタイルデザインをするなど、 とても明治時代の日本人とは思えないよ うなダイナミックな表現があります。これらは一歩も引けをとらずに 世界の中で一対一の 姿勢を主張をしてきた明治の横浜イズムとも言うべき大いなる男のロマンが感じられま す。 

日本を愛し世界を理解した正兵衛のデザインこそ和魂洋才そのも のといえます。

S.SHOBEY デザイン帳より

Shobey was known to be very well-versed in art, and as a life member of the Board of the 'Ryuchikai' (a well-known art society that was the predecessor to the Japan Art Association), promoted Japanese art along with Prince Arisugawa, Ito Hirobumi, and Inoue Kaoru.

It we look at one of the Shobey design books of the early Meiji period (late 1860s and 1870s) that still survives, we can see designs by famous artists of the Kano School as well as others by Shobey's close friend, the renowned potter, Miyagawa Kozan (known in the West as Makuzu Kozan) who created 'Yokohama pottery'.  We can also see the source of high- quality artwork designs found in traditional Japanese 'sashiko' embroidery.

This book of designs was published at a time when Europe was under the spell of Japonism.

Furthermore, this dynamic expression that emerged was very unlike any Japanese people living in the Meiji era as his commercial textile designs were made from a global viewpoint.  By taking a step forward and adopting a take-on-the-world attitude of what should almost be called 'Meiji era Yokohama-ism' the romanticism of this impressive man can be seen and felt.

It could be said that Shobey's designs, which combined a love of Japan with Western understanding, were also a combination of the Japanese spirit with Western knowledge.