An extremely fine large painting by Toyoharu – the founder of the Utagawa School and teacher of Toyokuni and Toyohiro. Show a group comprising a high-ranking courtesan, her two kamuro ( attendants ), and her manservant carrying a lantern with either the crest of the Yoshiwara House or the crest of the courtesan. They are probably venturing out to meet wealthy customers in the teahouses of the Yoshiwara. The ample girth of the courtesan is typical of Toyoharu’s style at this time. Her surcoat ( uchikake ) is wonderfully decorated with breaking waves; the theme repeated on the coat of the front attendant. Little is known of his beginnings but it is thought he studied under the Kano-school master Tsuruzawa Tangei. He then went to Edo around 1763 where it is thought he was the pupil of Shigenaga and Sekien. Amongst his achievements was the development of the uki-e or perspective print. He gave up print design in the 1780s. Full colour on paper, 48.75 x 21.75 in; 124 x 55.5 cms. Fine new mount and double box. Perfect condition. Painted in his prime, c 1780. Although prolific ( something like 100 paintings are known by him ), this is probably the finest example extant.