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A CELEBRATION of Victorian designer Christopher Dresser and his pioneering visit to Japan is taking place at Dorman Museum.

The family fun day will take place on Sunday, July 2, and will feature lots of Japanese-inspired arts and crafts as part of the annual Dresserfest.

The museum is currently hosting a Tokyo to the Tees exhibition which covers the period from the 1870s to the outbreak of the Second World War and includes important loans from private collections, the British Museum and the Wellcome Library, never seen before in the North East.

It also now includes photos provided by a member of the public who had read about the exhibition in the town’s Lovemiddlesbrough magazine.

The pictures show the SS Hitachi Maru and its captain. The Japanese ship belonged to the NYK line and called into Middlesbrough at the turn of the last century.

Museum staff only the captain’s first name is Ando and would love to know more about him if any member of the public can help.

Christopher Dresser was born in Glasgow on July 4, 1834, though his family originated from North Yorkshire.

In four months in 1876-77 Dresser travelled about 2,000 miles in Japan, recording his impressions in Japan, its Architecture, Art and Art-Manufactures.

He represented the South Kensington Museum whilst in Japan, and was received at court by the Emperor, who ordered Dresser to be treated as a guest of the nation – all doors were open to him.

He was requested by the Japanese Government to write a report on ‘Trade with Europe’. His pioneering study of Japanese art is evident in much of his work which is considered typical of the Anglo-Japanese style.

After working and travelling across the globe he opened Linthorpe Art Pottery in Middlesbrough in 1879.

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