This Week’s Historic House Puzzle ~ Whistler’s Peacock Room.
Click here to go to the free online puzzle: https://yourhistorichouse.com/whistlers-peacock-room-puzzle/
In 1876, American artist James McNeill Whistler was hired by British shipping magnate Frederick Leyland to redecorate his London townhouse dining room, where his Chinese blue-and-white porcelain collection was displayed.
The result, named “harmony in blue and gold” by the artist, was a complete reimagining of the room anchored by Whistler’s oil painting “Princess from the Land of Porcelain,” which was hung over the fireplace. This view is of the opposite end of the room, where Whistler painted two fighting peacocks in gold. The room is one of the greatest achievements of the Aesthetic Movement.
After Leyland’s death, the room was purchased by American art collector Charles Lang Freer in 1904. It was disassembled and shipped to America to be installed in Freer’s Detroit, MI, home. Freer collected ceramics from Asia and the Middle East to fill the room’s shelves, preferring muted colors and textures to Leyland’s intricate blue-and-white.
Today, the room is in the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery in Washington, DC, presented as it looked in 1908. Many art museums have historic rooms on exhibit, which can be a great source of information for restorers.
“Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners” is another outstanding source of information on all aspects of home restoration.
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
© Scott t. Hanson 2023.
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