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Edo Pop brings a taste of Japan to the Lady Lever

Celebrities, sports stars, actors and fashion icons are the subject of a new exhibition opening next week.

But you might not necessarily recognise any of the faces – because these are the famous of 19th century Tokyo.

Edo Pop: Japanese Prints (Edo being the old name for the Japanese capital) is at the Lady Lever Art Gallery from May 26, and features more than 40 images on loan from the private collection of art historian Frank Milner.

The show will also include a print by famous Japanese artist Hokusai from the same series as his iconic image the Great Wave, on display alongside the work of Eisen, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Yoshitoshi, Sadahide and Kunichika - the last great master of the Kabuki actor print.

Frank Milner said: “To me, what appeals about these prints is that so many are portraits of contemporary heroes that were originally bought by ordinary fans for the price of a bowl of noodles.

"People often think of Pop and its ephemera as a 1960s thing, but over 150 years ago, in a wooden city of a million people on the other side of the world, there was a buzzing, exciting Pop culture and these beautifully-crafted prints show that.

“To be able to display some of the highlights of my collection at the Lady Lever Art Gallery is, for me, a privilege. Instead of crammed eight deep into my hallway they will now be given enough space to be able to really appreciate their unique qualities.”

Edo Pop: Japanese Prints is at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight from May 26 until September 24.

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