Breathtakingly beautiful and exotic, the peacock inspires devotion among both artists and bird lovers. Its iridescent plumage, when fully displayed, is a delight to behold.
The bird itself, as Christine E. Jackson notes in Peacock, appears to enjoy its audience, preening and strutting about within a few feet of humans. It is not surprising, then, that these vain birds and their distinctive feathers have been the prized possessions of kings for nearly three thousand years. Jackson here explores the peacock’s beauty—and its apparent attitude—through fairy tales, fables, and superstitions in both Eastern and Western cultures. Peacock takes stock of the bird as it appears within art, from the earliest mosaics to medieval illuminated manuscripts to modern graphics, with a special emphasis on the peacock’s symbolic value in the nineteenth-century arts and crafts and art nouveau movements. Jackson further details the peacock’s colorful presence in hats, clothing, and even sports equipment.
A sweeping combination of social and natural history, Peacock is the first book to bring together all the shimmering, colorful facets of these magnificent birds.