The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01734
Date: 16 February 1877
Author: Edward William Godwin[1]
Place: [London]
Recipient: [JW?][2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G100
Document Type: PD/Ms

49 Prince's Gate -[3]

at 6 o'clock - 16 Feby 1617[4]th 77.


[printed undulating line]

The Peacock is taken as a means of carrying out this arrangement.

A pattern, invented from the Eye of the Peacock, is seen in the ceiling spreading from the lamps. Between them is a pattern devised from the breast-feathers.

These two patterns are repeated throughout the room.

In the cove, the Eye will be seen running along beneath the small breast-work or throat-feathers.

On the lowest shelf the Eye is again seen, and on the shelf above – these patterns are combined: the Eye, the Breast-feathers, and the Throat.

Beginning again from the blue floor, on the dado is the breast-work, BLUE ON GOLD, while above, on the Blue wall, the pattern is reversed, GOLD ON BLUE.

Above the breast-work on the dado the Eye is again found, also reversed, that is GOLD ON BLUE, as hitherto BLUE ON GOLD.

The arrangement is completed by the Blue Peacocks on the Gold shutters, and finally the Gold Peacocks on the Blue wall.

[bottom right corner, drawing of fish-scale pattern]

[p. 2, top half of page, written at right angles:]
fight[in]g peacocks
[drawing of fighting peacocks[6]]
[drawing of fireplace]

[lower part of page, upside down] shutters
[drawing of three shutters]

[p. 3]
[drawing of ceiling] gold.
              sticks surface incised
              & moulded [drawing of shelving]
   pattern on door
trellis               lotus flower
[drawing of trellis]           [drawing of lotus pattern]
doors 4 panel
[drawing of dado] Dado
              Shutter & panels high
              Look[in]g glass between
              windows at back of trellis

[p. 4, top half of page, at right angles:]
very fine

[plan of room]
              between windows
              on opposite wall
              sticky framework
              ceiling [drawing]

Portrait of M. Spartali[7]
in Japanese dress
Two dados in effect   lower c. 3 ft
blue panels & gold lines
              [drawing, fish-scale pattern in panels]
Gold framework & panels in doors & shutters
upper dado under a shelf abt 6 ft
very sketchy peacocks on shutter

[bottom half of p. 4, upside down:]
              30 100 x 14
[drawing of ceiling coffers]
              30 x 20 x 14
              600 in ceiling
              1400 in walls

              8 starrs [sic]

This document is protected by copyright.


Sketches & measurements of Peacock - Room -'


1.  Edward William Godwin
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more].

2.  17
'17' was written over '16'.

3.  [JW?]
This document may have been given direct to JW, or inherited by Godwin's widow and passed to JW on her death [see below].

4.  49 Prince's Gate - ... at 6 o'clock
Written in pencil.

Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178). The printed pamphlet (here transcribed as it appears and not in capital letters) was published in time for the press view on 9 February 1877 (see #02847). A second pamphlet, exactly the same as that at #02847, and without the additions on the one transcribed here, also appears in GUL Whistler G100.

6.  fighting peacocks
The drawings are in pen and pencil. This represents the panel of rich and poor peacocks on the wall at the south end of the room. In Godwin's review of the room, he wrote that he would have preferred 'more wall space and more peacocks.' (Anon., [Godwin, E. W.], 'The Peacock Room', The Architect, 24 February 1877, pp. 118-19; Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, pp. 252-53, repr. p. 253).

7.  Portrait of M. Spartali
La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50) is a portrait of Christine Spartali (1845?-1884), later Countess Edmond de Cahen [more]. Tom Taylor's review described it as in 'Japanese taste' (Anon., [Taylor, Thomas], 'A Peacock Room,' The Times, 15 February 1877, p. 4). Godwin disagreed, 'It is quite true that a Japanese dress appears in the picture over the fireplace, but the picture is not a Japanese picture.' However, he thought it looked 'somewhat sad, not to say dirty, by the side of all the gold and blue, and is an interruption to the scheme that I, for one, do not care for.' (Anon., [Godwin, E. W.], 'The Peacock Room', The Architect, 24 February 1877, pp. 118-19).

8.  Godwin ... Room
In hand of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. She first met JW 'in Peacock Room days', and fell in love with him (see her letter to JW, 26 November 1895, #06628).