James Whistler’s painting, “Art and Money: or, The Story of the Room”, shows two fighting peacocks in Leyland’s dining room. The image was meant to represent Whistler and his patron. Whistler and Leyland had a turbulent relationship, which is reflected in the painting.
The Peacock Room became a visual testament to Whistler’s passion for defending his work. He was passionate about defending his creative process but often at odds with patrons and critics over it. This tension culminated in the creation of this painting portraying himself as one of the peacocks engaged in combat.
Whistler’s depiction of peacocks may have been influenced by Eastern Art as each bird seems to have its own distinct personality. Their aggression captured in vivid colors makes for a visually stunning portrayal that has caught the attention of many art enthusiasts across time.