Ireland and Yoshio Markino

A 1918 review of the Augener publication of Ireland’s London Pieces suggested some parallels between ‘Chelsea Reach’ and the diatonic sweetness of the barcarolles of Offenbach. Ireland’s music, however, was perceived rather as depicting the psychology of the Londoner’s outlook, with its ‘ever-changing tints and shades of colour’. Even more interesting is the reviewer’s perception of connections between the poetic pictorialness of ‘Chelsea Reach’ and the London watercolours of Yoshio Markino. Markino (1869–1956) was a Japanese artist who moved to London in 1897, where he spent much of the rest of his life. For many years he was based in Chelsea, coincidentally living in the same road as St Luke’s church – Sydney Street. His illustrations of the city, based on many hours of exploring the capital on foot, were published in 1907 in The Colour of London, followed in 1912 by The Charm of London. It would be fascinating to know whether Ireland was aware of these images, and whether Markino’s pictures of Chelsea, two of which are shown below, may have played a part in the creation of the composer’s own dreamy London soundscape.

Two very interesting blogs contain further information on this artist: Sources: Markino, Yoshio. Yoshio Markino: A Japanese Artist in London. London House: 1990. Monthly Musical Record, 48, 2 April 1918, p. 84.


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