The SirensArtist(s)Bernard LeachArtist NationalityBritish (modern)Object Creation Date1910Medium & Supportaquatint and etching on paperDimensions
5 5/8 in x 6 11/16 in (14.3 cm x 17 cm)Credit LineMuseum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection FundSubject matter
Though the artist is most well known for his pottery, this work represents his study of etching. When this print was produced, Leach and his wife had traveled to Japan so that the artist could bring the medium of etching to Japanese artists. As the title suggests, the scene depicts men on a boat being tempted by the "sirens," likely prostitutes, who pose nude outside the walls of the brothel. Here Leach took the Homeric tale and mapped it onto the scenes of daily life he encounters in Japan.
Leach had traveled frequently as a child, being born in Hong Kong and living in Kyoto and Singapore before being moved back to England for school. It was during his time back in Japan, at the moment when he produced this print, that he discovered raku pottery, which he studied and made a name for him back in the UK. Physical Description
The print depicts a two-story structure on the right and receeding back, which has a lower wall to the left. There are figures in a long row boat in the foreground and a series of standing and laying nude women on the stairs in front of the building. Other figures can be seen on the balcony of the building. The print is signed (l.r.) "Bernard Leach" and located and dated (l.l.) "Japan '10" in pencil. Primary Object ClassificationPrintCollection AreaModern and ContemporaryRights
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modern and contemporary art
sirens (imaginary beings)