In the course of doing research on pieces in our collection, we came across this wonderful record of a letter that Edmund Verney wrote to his daughter Molly in 1689. Molly was at school at ‘Great Chelsey’ when she received the following encouragement from her father:
I find you have a desire to learn to Jappan as you call it, and I approve of it; and so I shall of anything that is good and virtuous, therefore learn in God’s name all good things and I will willingly be at the Charge so farr as I am able–tho, they come from Japan & from never so farr and Looke of an Indian Hue & odour for I admire all accomplishments that will render you considerable & lovely in teh sight of God & man, & therefore I hope you performe your Part according to yr word & employ yr time well & so I pray God blesse you. To learn this art costs a Guinea entrance & some 40/s ore to buy materials to work upon.
It is fascinating to have such a record that lauds the art of japanning as something both fashionable and respectable as an artistic pursuit. To read more about japanning, have a look at our previous posts here, here, and here.