During his time, Kunisada was the leading light in Edo’s ukiyo-e movement. Following in the footsteps of his master, Toyokuni I, he specialised in dynamic kabuki actor prints (yakusha-e) and charming beauty prints (bijin-ga). 

His entire output is said to be up to 25,000 designs, about two thirds of which is dedicated to his love of kabuki theatre.

Kunisada also designed many erotic prints (shunga) under the pseudonym ‘Matahei’, in order to hide his identity during a time of strict censorship. 

His designs are recognisable for intricate detailing, patterning and exquisite colours. 

By the 1850’s, Kunisada had mastered his style and developed a curious eye for capturing narrative and emotion in his portraits. In this collection, we’ve chosen many compelling pieces from these later years of his career.

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