Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Asian art

View More:


Standing beauty reading a letter

circa 1814


Hosoda Eishi


1756 - 1829


Hosoda EISHI was one of the 'three great masters of beautiful women' at the height of the 'ukiyo-e' prints (late 18th to early 19th century) alongside Kitagawa UTAMARO and Torii KIYONAGA. Elegance and grace as well as absence of sensuality characterise EISHI's depiction of women compared to the works by UTAMARO and KIYONAGA. This is usually attributed to EISHI's social status and training. Unlike most 'ukiyo-e' artists who were so-called 'town painters', EISHI was a high-ranking samurai, serving the Shogun. He studied painting under Kanô Eisen'in Norinobu, the then patriarch of the Kobikichô branch of the Kanô School. While serving the 10th Shogun Ieharu (1737-86) managing his personal effects and gifts, EISHI was also his painting companion.

After three years of service, EISHI retired on the pretext of illness and began painting in the 'ukiyo-e' style initially under instruction of a Torii School artist. For this, he was excommunicated from the official Kanô School, which prohibited their artists from practicing the commoners' art.

Unlike many 'ukiyo-e' artists whose paintings reveal their lack of proper training with brush, EISHI was adept at painting and left many quality nikuhitsu 'ukiyo-e' (hand painted 'ukiyo-e'), on which he is said to have concentrated in his later life.

Asian Art Dept. AGNSW, 29 May 2002.


Place where the work was made



circa 1814

Media category


Materials used

hanging scroll; ink and colour on silk


85.0 x 34.5 cm image; 169.0 x 45.9 x 51.0 cm

Signature & date

Signed l.r., in Japanese, inscribed in ink "[Chôbunsai Eishi hitsu]". Signed l.r., in Japanese, stamped in red ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated.


Purchased 2002


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Hosoda Eishi

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Referenced in 3 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 10 (colour illus.), 11.

Jackie Menzies, Look, 'Asian Favourites', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Sep 2003, 25 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Floating World', Sydney, 2003, 250-251 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 251 is a detail of this work.