My research explores the origins of the Aesthetic Movement in England and focuses on artists in the orbit of the patron and collector Frederick R. Leyland (1832 – 1892), whose dining room James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) notoriously transformed into the Peacock Room (1876 – 1877). Whistler’s decade-long struggle to create a pictorial manifesto in The Three Girls (his fourth “Symphony in White,” commissioned by Leyland in 1868 and never completed) is the subject of The Lost Symphony, an exhibition I am co-curating for the Freer Gallery of Art. In a separate project, I am reconstructing Leyland’s old master painting collection in order to investigate the reciprocity of influence between the ideals of the nascent Aesthetic Movement and Leyland’s taste for a particular version of “Renaissance” subject matter and style.
Members' Research Report Archive
The Art Collections and Patronage of Frederick Leyland
Robyn Asleson, Research Associate, 2014 – 2015
James McNeill Whistler, The White Symphony: Three Girls, c. 1868. Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC