The Hata Men Gate, China
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Katharine Alice Jowett née Wheatley (1883–1972) was born in Devon, and as a teenager fell in love and followed a missionary to China. She fell out of love with both the missionary and the missionary life, and moved to Beijing where she met and married Hardy Jowett in 1910.
They returned to England for a time but returned again to China in the 1920s. Through volunteering at the Peiping Institute of Fine Arts, Jowett became interested in woodcuts and began to use this technique herself. This print is a coloured linocut print in a woodblock style, of the Hata Men Gate in the Tartar Wall at the Chienmen Station, Beijing, China.
Read more about the interesting life of Katharine Jowett below.
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Jowett studied Chinese printmaking and in particular became a print maker in the shin-hanga style of woodcut printing. The Shin-hanga movement was popular between 1915 and 1942, and then again in the 50/60s. It was inspired by Impressionism, with a focus on light and mood, but with traditional themes. Most of Jowett’s work is of famous places and landmarks, in particular city scapes of Beijing.
She exhibited with and was guided by Bertha Lum (1869 – 1954) (an American artist, known for promoting and popularising Chinese and Japanese prints), who introduced her to Helen Burton – an American who represented Jowett through her gallery, The Camel’s Bell. Through this connection, she sold to the tourist market, although it is said that Chairman Mao was a collector of her work, and that hers were the only western artworks to be displayed in his personal chambers.
Jowett remained in Beijing after her husbands death, until she was arrested as an enemy national and interned in 1943. On her release in 1945 she retuned to Devon where she lived and worked until her death in 1972.
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