House of the Setting Sun

17 May – 10 October 2021

Blackwell is opening the Japan-UK Season of Culture with the launch of House of the Setting Sun; a programme that celebrates the enduring legacy of artistic exchange between Britain and Japan.

The exhibition explores the interchange of influence between Japanese design and the British Arts & Crafts Movement with a new exhibition The Lure of the Floating World: Japan and its enduring influence and a family adventure trail that reveals a world of mythical and mysterious creatures inspired by Japanese popular culture.

The Lure of the Floating World: Japan and its enduring influence

When Japan opened its ports to international trade in 1853, the world became enamoured by the beauty of its art and the quality of its craft. Nowhere was this more so felt than in the Arts & Crafts Movement in Britain, who saw within Japanese makers their true, kindred spirits. Their shared dedication to the beauty of everyday things would prove an enduring bond, creating an artistic legacy that is still felt today. This exhibition celebrates that legacy and the art it has created and offers an opportunity to view a rarely seen collection of traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, including works from the great masters Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Toyokoni III 

On display will also be Blackwell’s  collection of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese and British ceramics, including works by Nao Matsunaga, Takeshi Yasuda and the father of British Studio pottery, Bernard Leach. 

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an exquisite hand embroidered 19th century Kimono and Obi sash. Made of traditional chirimen crepe silk, it depicts the ancient philosophical links between the heroic Japanese samurai and the delicate nature of the cherry blossom.  

Yōkai trail

Hidden throughout the house are mysterious and mythical creatures to be found. In Japanese culture, yōkai are much-loved little animals and spirits that inhabit the human world. Visitors can follow a playful trail around the house to find Blackwell’s resident yōkai family and learn more about their peculiar traits and intriguing stories. Pick up a trail map from Blackwell to start your adventure.



Further information
  • Re-opened 18 May 2021; opening times: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily. Booking is essential
  • Adults: £9.00 / £9.90 (with Gift Aid); Friends, Patrons & Benefactors FREE; Family (one adult & up to three children): £15.50 / £17.05 (with Gift Aid); Family (two adults & up to three children): £24.00 / £26.95 (with Gift Aid); Students: 7.00 / £7.70 (with Gift Aid); Children <15 £4.50 / £4.95 (with Gift Aid); Children < 4 Free; National Art Pass 50% discount
  • Location Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3J
  • Getting there by car From the south: Exit the M6 at junction 36 and follow signs for the South Lakes and Windermere. At the roundabout take the first left following signs for Crook and Bowness-on-Windermere on the B5284. After 6 miles arrive at a T-junction, turn left on to the A5074 (Lyth Valley Road). Turn right where the road forks onto the B5360.  Follow the drive to Blackwell’s car park. From the north: Exit the M6 at junction 40 and follow signs for Keswick (A66) and Windermere (A591) via Grasmere and Ambleside. Once in Windermere follow signs for Bowness-on-Windermere. Once in Bowness-on-Windermere follow the road to Blackwell which is situated just off the A5074 (Lyth Valley Road) and turn right where the road forks onto the B5360. Follow the drive to Blackwell’s car park. By train: Oxenholme is the nearest main-line railway station, a connecting train will bring you into Windermere (three miles from Blackwell). Buses run to Bowness-on-Windermere, 1½ miles north of Blackwell. Alternatively taxis are available from Windermere Station to Blackwell
  • For more information please call 015394 46139