This room is spectacular, designed by James McNeil Whistler!
Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room is Whistler's masterpiece of interior decorative mural art. He painted the paneled room in a rich and unified palette of brilliant blue-greens with over-glazing and metallic gold leaf. Painted in 1876–1877, it now is considered a high example of the Anglo-Japanese style.
Unhappy with the first decorative result by another artist, shipowner Leyland of London, left the room in Whistler's care to make minor changes, "to harmonize" the room whose primary purpose was to display Leyland's china collection. Whistler let his imagination run wild, however, "Well, you know, I just painted on. I went on—without design or sketch—putting in every touch with such freedom…And the harmony in blue and gold developing, you know, I forgot everything in my joy of it."
Upon returning, Leyland was shocked by the "improvements." Artist and patron quarreled so violently over the room and the proper compensation for the work that the important relationship for Whistler was terminated. At one point, Whistler gained access to Leyland's home and painted two fighting peacocks meant to represent the artist and his patron; one holds a paint brush and the other holds a bag of money.
Whistler is reported to have said to Leyland, "Ah, I have made you famous. My work will live when you are forgotten. Still, per chance, in the dim ages to come you will be remembered as the proprietor of the Peacock Room." Adding to the emotional drama was Whistler's fondness for Leyland's wife, Frances, who separated from her husband in 1879.
Having acquired the centerpiece of the room, Whistler's painting of The Princess from the Land of Porcelain,
American industrialist and aesthete Charles Lang Freer purchased the entire room in 1904 from Leyland's heirs, including Leyland's daughter and her husband, the British artist Val Prinsep. Freer then had the contents of the Peacock Room installed in his Detroit mansion. After Freer's death in 1919, the Peacock Room was permanently installed in the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.. The gallery opened to the public in 1923.