Staircase panel

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
Oil paint and metal leaf on wood
H x W: 51.1 x 36.8 cm (20 1/8 x 14 1/2 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Dado panel

flower, United States

From 1876 to 1892
Frederick Richards Leyland (1831-1892), London, from 1876 [1]

From 1892 to 1894
Estate of Frederick Richards Leyland, London, from 1892 [2]

From 1894 to 1904
Mrs. James Watney (Blanche Marie Georgiana Burrell Watney), London, purchased from the Estate of Frederick Richards Leyland in 1894 [3]

Obach & Co., London, purchased from Mrs. James Watney, through Messrs. Brown and Phillips of the Leicester Galleries, London, in 1904 [4]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Obach & Co. in 1904 [5]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [6]


[1] These panels were removed from a staircase in Frederick Richard Leyland's house, 49 Prince's Gate, London (see Curatorial Remark 2 in the object record). When Frederick Richard Leyland died in 1892, 49 Prince's Gate - and its contents - was offered for sale. Leyland's porcelains and other treasures were sold. The house - which still contained these stair panels, as well as the famous Peacock Room - did not bring a high enough offer and it was withdrawn from sale. It was finally purchased in 1894 by Mrs. James (Blanche) Watney. Upon discovering that the Peacock Room could be taken apart and reassembled, Mrs. Watney decided to sell the room. In 1903, Mrs. Watney engaged Messrs. Brown and Phillips of the Leicester Galleries in Leicester Square as agents. Unable to purchase, dismantle, and reassemble the room on their own, Ernest Brown, one of principals, enlisted the cooperation of Obach & Co., a larger gallery on New Bond Street. In 1904, Charles Lang Freer purchased the Peacock Room from Obach & Co., and soon thereafter purchased these stair panels (see Curatorial Remark 5, David Park Curry, 1984, in the object record). See also, F1904.61, Curatorial Remarks and Provenance, for more information.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See note 1. Also, the exact nature of the transactions between Mrs. Watney, Messrs. Brown and Phillips of the Leicester Galleries, and Obach & Co. is somewhat unclear. Messrs. Brown and Phillips appear to have acted simply as agents for Mrs. Watney, facilitating the sale of architectural fragments of 49 Prince's Gate, from Mrs. Watney to Obach & Co. Obach & Co. appear to have been full owners of these pieces, having purchased them from Mrs. Watney before selling them to Freer.

[5] See notes 1 and 4.

[6] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Published References
  • Osburn & Mercer. The Mansion. Formerly the residence of the late F.R. Leyland, Esq.: Sale catalogue, 17 June 1892. London, 1892. opp. p. 6.
  • Klaus Berger. Japonismus in der Westlichen Malerei: 1860-1920. München. fig. 29.
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. vol. 2: pls. 121-123.
  • C.J. Holmes. The Peacock Room: Painted for Mr. F.R. Leyland by James McNeill Whistler, removed in its entirety from the late owner's residence & exhibited at Messrs. Obach's Galleries at 168 New Bond Street, London. Exh. cat. London. p. 2.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. pp. 63, 161, pl. 72.
  • Theodore Child. A Pre-Raphaelite Mansion. London, 1890. p. 83.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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