This is a collection of exquisite Japanese Iris paintings from about 1910. Unfortunately, the original artist is unknown. But they were so lovely I just had to share them.
The prints were donnated the Copper Hewitt Museum by Mary Rutherford Jay.
These are beautiful artistic flower paintings rather than the usual free botanical illustrations shared on this site.
I particularly enjoy this collection of vintage flower prints as irises are one of my favourite flowers. My family all know that when buying me flowers, I’ll be thrilled with a bunch of Irises.
With each painting, Japanese characters give each flower a name, which has been translated into English. Sometimes the term relates to specific characteristics. Other times, it just seems to be a bit of poetic licence!
Interesting Tid Bits About Iris’s
- There are about 310 different species of Irises.
- From Europe to Asia and North America, nearly all of the iris species are found in the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate regions.
- The flowers are named after Iris, the Greek God of the Rainbow
- The iris is a beautiful showy flower that comes in various shapes, colours and sizes. It’s an attractive plant even when it is not in bloom, so it is a popular ornamental plant.
- The Fleur-De-Lys is a stylised representation of the iris flower.
- As well as being a symbol of the French Monarchy the Fleur-De-Lys is also the symbol of the scouts.
- Vincent van Gough famous for his iris paintings is believed to have been inspired by the Japanese Woodblock paintings of flowers.
- The iris is one of the birth flowers for February.
- According to the Victorian Language of Flowers, the iris has different meanings depending on the colour.
- Purple -Royalty & wisdom
- Yellow – Passion
- Blue- Faith & hope
- White – purity
How To Download Iris Paintings
All the Japanese Iris prints are in the Public Domain and, therefore, copyright free. To download the print you want, click on the title above it, and a high-resolution image will open in a new window on your browser.
If you click on that image you will be able to save and print it
The colours of these irises are stunning; my favourite blue iris is No. 17 Cloisonnée, magenta iris No. 39 Sword Dance, and purple iris No. 12 Fighting Bear. They all look fabulous framed on a gallery wall and are a fantastic resource for decoupage crafts.
Japanese Flower Paintings 1-10
Gekka no Nami translates as under the moonlight. A beautiful white iris, it has three very large silvery-white petals with a golden-rayed centre
Shishi-odori translates as Lion Dance. Deep velvety purple, shaded blue; six petals.
Kumoma no Sora tranlates as sky between clouds. A White iris with a strongly marked sky-blue zone and mottled in the same shade, yellow blotches petaloid stigmas white margined lavender-blue, 6 petals.
Kumo no Obi translates as Band of Clouds. Also known as Iris ensata (Japanese water iris), it is extensively grown as an ornamental plant throughout the world’s temperate zones. The flower, appearing in midsummer, is purple with a flash of yellow on the falls.
A large magenta iris.
No. 6 The Wings of The Lightning
A large red flower.
No. 7 Love Meditating on Its Consort
Sofuren in Japanese actually translates as Husband Love. A large painted iris, the outer perianth leaves in mottled light purple. Inner leaves white, with purple tips.
A large iris, the outer perianth leaves white, the inner leaves deep blue above.
Hana no Nishiki tranlates from Japanese as flower brocade. A large iris, outer perianth leaves magenta; inner leaves white with purple tips.
No. 10 Yomonoumi. The open sea from the 4 points
A large light blue iris, the inner perianth leaves, purple. Upper portion of leaves, stem, bud.
Japanese Iris Paintings 11-20
A large iris, perianth leaves in mottled red-violet, running to purple and yellow at the center. Inner leaves white, purple at tips.
A large deep purple iris, the inner perianth leaves white, with purple tips.
A large red iris, inner perianth leaves white with purple tips.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves light purple, inner leaves deep purple.
Uchu translates from Japanese as Universe. A large white and blue Japanese iris painting.
Also known as Iris typhifoli, from China. The ornamental flower has slender, twisted leaves, a deep green slender hollow stem and 2 violet-blue flowers.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves in varying shades of light blue; inner leaves in light purple with deep purple tips.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves magenta; inner leaves deep purple.
Kiminomegumi tranlsates from Japanese to Your Grace. A large iris, outer perianth leaves light blue; inner leaves magenta and purple.
Kumo no Uye translates from Japanese to Above th Clouds.
Iris Prints 21-30
A large iris in mottled purple.
Shishi-Ikari translates from Japanese as Lion Anger. A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep red; inner leaves white with purple tips.
A large deep purple iris.
Sano no Watshi actually translates as Sum of The Differnce?
Yedo-Jiman translates as I’m Proud of You. A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep blue; inner leaves purple and white with blue tips.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves in mottled magenta; inner leaves purple.
No. 27 The Feather of The Bird
A large iris, outer perianth leaves purple; inner leaves magenta and purple.
A large vintage Japanese white iris painting.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves purple with rays of white; inner leaves white with purple tips.
Kagaribi translates from Japanese to bonfire. A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep red with rays of white; inner leaves white with magenta tips.
Vintage Iris Paintings 31-40
Kosui no Iro translates as the Colour of Lake Water. A large white Japanese iris painting with light blue tints.
Komochiguma is the Japanese for Babybear. Two irises, outer perianth leaves in deep blue-purple; inner leaves purple.
A large Japanese painted iris, outer perianth leaves light blue with lavender tips; inner leaves white with purple tips.
No. 34 Waterfall of The Maples
Momiji no Taki translates as Autumn waterfall. A large iris, outer perianth leaves violet; inner leaves white with deep magenta tips.
Japanese Iris paintings no. 35. A large iris, white with magenta tips.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep magenta; inner leaves white with violet tips.
A large iris, outer perianth leaves blue-violet to blue at center; inner leaves violet.
No. 38 Moon of the Frosty Night
A large iris, outer perianth leaves white; inner leaves with green tints.
A large iris in deep magenta-purple.
A large iris, the outer perianth leaves in mottled blue, the inner leaves white with purple tips.
There are some beautiful Iris paintings by Jane Loudon that you should check out.
These beautiful iris paintings are one of the many vintage Japanese prints on the site, such as the art prints of Shin-Bijutsukai. There are also some watercolour irises in Marshal’s Florilegium.
The site has cherry blossom drawings; it is the flower most associated with Japan. Lilies are often mistaken for irises; this site also has vintage lily illustrations.
Saturday 18th of March 2023
Thank you for sharing they are all beautiful 😍 I love the uniqueness that every picture put up on here thanks
Sunday 19th of March 2023
Thank you, that is lovely to hear.
Wednesday 23rd of November 2022
Claire, These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them. The names do go with the flowers but the last one, #40 Wave on a Rugged Shore, really looks exactly like ocean waves. Kathy
Saturday 18th of March 2023
@Kathy, I will go back and check that out thanks 😊
Wednesday 23rd of November 2022
Thank you, Kathy. Yes, I do like the poetic names it adds an extra bit of interest.