Oblong thick 8vo, orig. padded silk cloth binding. [Japan]: 1898.
A rare collection of 32 albumen photographs taken by Toshimo Mitsumura (1877-1955), the famous commercial photographer and printing entrepreneur; one of the greatest industrialists of the Meiji period, he is also highly esteemed today as a photographer. These photographs represent some of his earliest efforts. Mitsumura’s photographs have always been highly regarded and are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
A native of Kobe, Mitsumura purchased his first camera at the age of 14 and quickly became an accomplished photographer. In 1893 he enrolled in college at Tokyo’s Keio University where he continued his photographic pursuits. By the time of his graduation Mitsumura had became a professional photographer and his first major commission came in 1898 when he was hired to photograph the Besshi Copper Mine. This firmly established Mitsumura as a commercial photographer and in 1900 he attended the Exposition Universelle in Paris where he was awarded a gold medal for photography. He was commissioned by the Japanese government to document the Russo-Japan War; this elevated Mitsumura’s company to become one of the leading printing and photographic firms in the Kansai region. In 1918, he moved his company to Tokyo where it continues to flourish today. Mitsumura was also a major collector of Japanese sword fittings, now at the Nezu Museum in Tokyo.
A major copper deposit was discovered in Besshi, near Niihama City in Ehime Prefecture in 1690. Copper production started in 1691 and continued to 1973, operated by Sumitomo.
The album contains 32 photographs, each mounted on thick board and all with manuscript captions. The inside front cover has written (in trans.): “September 1898. Toshimo Mitsumura took these pictures.” A facsimile edition of this was published in 2011.
Fine condition and a remarkable discovery. Preserved in the slightly damaged original wooden box.
Item ID: 6296