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The Peacock Room in Blue and White

Daily, Now - December 31, 2019
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

The Peacock Room in Blue and White fills the room’s shelving with blue-and-white Chinese porcelains, inspired by room’s appearance in 1876 when it was the dining room of Frederick Leyland, a shipping magnate in London.

With the sinuous patterns and brilliant blue and white colors of Leyland’s Kangxi ware in mind, Whistler, a proponent of aesthetic harmony, painted over the room in a flurry of blue and gold. The intricate blue, green, and gold patterns invoke the plumage of the peacock, creating a tonal counterpoint to the bolder patterns and colors of the porcelains.

Blue-and-white porcelain from the Freer Collection adorn the shelves of the east and north walls of the room, and newly commissioned blue-and-white ceramics in the Kangxi style line the west and south walls. These porcelains are not reproductions of historical blue-and-white ware. Instead, they reflect the continuity of a 1,500-year-old porcelain-making tradition in Jingdezhen, China. Porcelain production during the Kangxi period greatly expanded China’s export trade with Europe, sparking the East-West exchange that endures to this day. The resulting installation allows visitors to experience the room in much the same way Whistler originally envisioned it. 

Event Location

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Ave. SW,
Washington, DC 20013-7012
National Mall

Admission: Free!


Posted by: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery