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The British Museum x Beast


As one of the most iconic Japanese works of art, The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai is an inspiration for themed home décor. 


“The Great Wave off Kanagawa”

This piece was made between 1829 and 1832. At the time Hokusai was almost 70 years old and says he was inspired by the nearby harbor scenery.

Hokusai had a long career as an artist and he once said “life starts at 50”! Hokusai would actually peak in his later years - creating his best art. During his 70s, Hokusai faced many challenges in his private life.  His second wife became sick and passed away shortly thereafter, and his grandson had an addiction to gambling that led to financial problems. Moreover, his house was damaged by fire and he lost many paintings and sketches. This series of unfortunate events brought him and his daughter to live in a temple where he got back on his feet. He started to draw again.  His “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series was made during this period and “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is one of the most iconic pieces from this series.


The British Museum and the famous home decor brand, Beast, collaborated to develop a wonderful series of home fragrance products including reed diffuser sets, candles, and sachets.


It was a no easy task.  During the product design stage the team came to realize the color in these art pieces had changed over the course of 200 years. It was a challenge to get the right color tone back - one that took over 3 months to get the details and the color just right and be true to the original.