"The Peacock Room" by Linda Merrill

The Peacock Room A Cultural Biography Linda Merrill

Publication date:
24 Sep 1998
416 pages: 320 x 260 x 33mm
105 colour plates, 150 b&w illustrations

An account of the creation of James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room, it's reception by the artist's patron, subsequent criticism, and ultimate museum installation in 1923. The author also includes details of dinner parties that took place in the room, and attempts to draw out insights into contemporary British culture.

"The author . . . uses the history of the Peacock Room to gain fascinating insights into the culture and attitudes of 19th century Britain, as well as its relationship to American culture. . . . This is a fascinating tale, written with an intimacy achieved by manifold retellings and accounts, personal sketches and correspondence by the artist and an obvious desire to share the beauty and secrets of this room with the reader."?Vickie Bailey, Antiques Bulletin

"Superbly designed and produced. . . . [Merrill] . . . has based her monograph on newly discovered letters, documents, and newspaper accounts. The result is one of the most original contributions to the study of Victorian art and culture in recent years."?Richard Dorment, New York Review of Books

?Here is everything one could possibly want to know about one of the most famous dining rooms in the world.??Washington Post

"As a cultural biography, the book?s greatest virtue is its breadth of focus: Just as Whistler?s interior served as an elaborate setting for Leyland?s Chinese porcelain collection, Merrill provides a rich wide factual setting for the Peacock Room."?Ballast Quarterly Review

"This study sweeps away the many distortions and misunderstandings that have multiplied in the retelling of the extraordinary story of the Peacock Room. Merrill goes far beyond the room as it now exists . . . and throws a much brighter light on Whistler?s relations with his patron?s family."?Burlington Magazine

?Merrill has engagingly and comprehensively detailed the room?s history and its extraordinary decorative schemes. Her impressive book will endure as a complete document of one of the few complete late-nineteenth-century interiors still in existance.??Catherine Futter, Furniture History Society

Winner of the 1998 Historians of British Art Book Prize in the category of nineteenth-century studies