The legend of the Willow Pattern Garden shown on Blue Pattern plates can be summarised as follows. The Chinese scenes depict a widely held belief of the story about the Mandarin's daughter who fell in love with her father's poor secretary, their elopement, pursual and transformation into a pair of doves.
The reality is less romantic. The English artist Thomas Turner, working in the Staffordshire potteries in the late 18th Century, designed the motif, probably making a mix of images from earlier Chinese plates. That English pottery was exported to China where it was imitated for re-export, the Chinese potters laboriously copying the English transfers.
The Lake here has been a home to a variety of wildlife for centuries and Broadland is renowned for willows. Thus the development to bring together these features and create this garden; an attraction unique to Thrigby Hall.
As with pheasants and Mandarin ducks, cranes feature in many Chinese works of art. They are revered for their longevity, permanent pair bonding with both parents playing a part in rearing the young.
Superficially cranes may look like storks, but their behaviour, other than feeding are different. Typically they nest on the ground. Most of the fifteen species build a nest mound from local vegetation, to raise it above the waterline, in the middle of a marsh. Wetlands are threatened worldwide, from pollution and drainage, thus cranes - and all other interdependent flora and fauna, - suffer.