Peacock Room, Freer Gallery of Art

ID: 2002-12189

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: Unknown, perhaps 1930s

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 34, Folder: 13

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The southwest corner of the Peacock Room, also called "Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room", by James McNeill Whistler installed in the Freer Gallery of Art. The Peacock Room was once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy shipowner from Liverpool, England. It was originally designed by a gifted interior architect Thomas Jeckyll. The lattice of intricately carved shelving was constructed by Jeckyll to display Leyland's prized collection of Chinese porcelain. The south wall of the Peacock Room shows a pair of peacocks aggressively confronting each other. It was a confrontation between two peacocks, frozen in the movements of an angry ballet: one standing with its feet straddling a pile of silver shillings, its throat a path of aggressive ruffles, alluding to Leyland's favored ruffled shirts. The other peacock, recoiling before its rich and greedy rival, has a silver crest feather resembling the lock of white hair that curled above Whistler's forehead. This altercation was called, "Art and Money, or, The Story of the Room."


  • Whistler, James McNeill 1834-1903
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (Exhibition)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Original negative number is 7403AE, but that negative has been lost. Freer Gallery photo 04.61.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 34, Folder: 13

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


Unknown, perhaps 1930s

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  • Art
  • American Art
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Exhibitions
  • Interiors
  • Art history
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  • Art objects


  • Photographic print
  • Exhibit

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8x10; Type of Image: Exhibit; Medium: Photographic print

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