As a further step toward restoring harmony to the Peacock Room, the Freer Gallery has collected examples of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain similar to those for which the room was designed. Frederick Leyland's collection consisted of Qing-dynasty pieces, primarily from the Kangxi period (1662-1722), in a range of shapes and sizes, as suggested by the variety of spaces formed by Jeckyll's elaborate walnut framework. Cobalt-blue peacock feathers -- which were almost invisible before conservation -- appear on the walls behind the shelves, echoing the blue patterns on the bright white pots; the gilded spindles of the shelves frame each piece as a separate work of art. As a result, Whistler's Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room is once again what the artist intended, a whimsical land of porcelain ruled by the princess in the painting.
Lawton, Thomas, and Linda Merrill. Freer: A Legacy of Art. Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1993. See especially chapter 7, "Composing the Collection."
Merrill, Linda. The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography. Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art in association with Yale University Press, 1998.
Merrill, Linda, and Sarah Ridley. The Princess and the Peacocks; or, The Story of the Room. New York: Hyperion Books for Children in association with the Freer Gallery of Art, 1993.
Conservation of the Peacock Room was made possible by a major grant from the Getty Grant Program and additional support from the James Smithson Society and the Mars Foundation. Research on the Peacock Room was supported by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.