The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Browse Subjects > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: Peacock Room
Record 5 of 79

System Number: 02567
Date: 26 April 1876
Author: Frederick Richards Leyland[1]
Place: Liverpool
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L103
Document Type: ALS

Speke Hall

26 Apr 1876

Dear Jemmy,

Jekell[2] writes to know what colour to do the doors and windows in [the] dining room[3]. He speaks of two yellows and white - Would it not be better to do it like [the] dado in the hall[4] - i.e using dutch metal in large masses. It ought to go well with the leather[5]. I [p. 2] wrote to him suggesting this but I wish you would give him your ideas -

I told Gillows[6] to put up a new piece of tapestry[7] in the breakfast room and the deaf man was to see you and try to get a better stain for it -

Yours truly

Fred R Leyland

This document is protected by copyright.


J. M. Whistler Eq
2 Lindsey houses
Old Battersea bridge
London S W
[postmark:] H 19 / [LIVER]POOL / 26 AP / 76
[postmark on verso:] LONDON S. W. / [8?] 7 / AP 27 / 76


1.  Frederick Richards Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

2.  Jekell
A mis-spelling of Thomas Jeckell, known as Thomas Jeckyll (1827-1881), architectural designer [more].

3.  dining room
A reference to work in progress on the dining room of Leyland's new London house at 49 Prince's Gate. The Leylands purchased the lease in 1874 but extensively remodelled the house before moving in. The dining room was intended to house La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50) and The Three Girls (YMSM 88). Jeckyll designed an interior scheme for the dining room which incorporated narrow open shelves for the display of Leyland's collection of blue and white porcelain. See Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, pp. 206-7 for an account of this period. Later, during the summer, JW's alterations overtook Jeckyll's original design and the room was reborn as the decorative scheme Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178).

4.  hall
JW had already worked on the decorations for the hall at Prince's Gate. See Panels from the Entrance Hall at 49 Princes Gate (YMSM 175).

5.  leather
The gilt leather that Leyland had purchased through Marks for £1000 (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Whistler Journal, Philadelphia, 1921, p. 109). It was hung on the walls of the dining room. For an explanation of the technique of 'gilding' leather see Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 191.

6.  Gillows
Gillow, of Gillow and Co., builders and decorators.

7.  tapestry
Perhaps a reference to one of a suite of tapestries which hung in the morning room of 49 Prince's Gate. They are recorded in the Christie, Manson and Woods, Catalogue of the Very Valuable Collection of Ancient and Modern Pictures of Frederick Richards Leyland, Esq., sale catalogue, London, 28 May 1892 , p. 7.