Blue Willow

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Chinese Temple at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, August 2018

You are probably wondering about the title of this post – there is no blue, and no willow.

This small Chinese temple sits in the gardens of Wrest Park in an area that was designed to copy the famous chinoiserie pattern. Blue Willow became popular on ceramic houseware in the 1790s, developed by English ceramic artists who were inspired by the blue and white Chinese wares that were arriving from China.

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The classic pattern consists of a waterside setting with a Chinese pavilion, a bridge, a large tree and a willow tree, set along a curving and irregular bank.

The pavilion and bridge in the Wrest Park version are perhaps a little smaller than the traditional ceramic pattern went for, but it makes for a charming, peaceful spot in these large gardens, while the grand tulip tree makes up for any underperformance on size. Sadly, there is no willow tree remaining and the costs of dredging the waterway and replacing the tree seem to be ruling that out.

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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 20 September 2018

Posted as part of Cee’s B&W Challenge

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