There is something rather majestic and captivating about peacocks, or to be more precise, the male peacock. When its blue-green iridescent feathers are fanned out, it’s a sign of courtship and a way to impress the more subdued peahen.


The peacock has been depicted in art since the ancient times and is seen as a symbol of beauty, rebirth and wealth, as well as of sinful pride. The birds originally came from India over 4,000 years ago where they were symbols of royalty and from the 1800s, they began to populate Western visual and decorative culture.


This curation presents a chronological display of peacocks depicted in art and the many ways this magnificent bird has been interpreted by artists throughout time.

10 artworks
A Species of Chinese Peacock
Image credit: Wellcome Collection

A Species of Chinese Peacock

unknown artist

Gouache on paper

H 81 x W 47.5 cm

Wellcome Collection

A Peacock in a Crowned Alchemical Flask; Representing the Stage in the Alchemical Process When the Substance Breaks Out into Many Colours
Image credit: Wellcome Collection

A Peacock in a Crowned Alchemical Flask; Representing the Stage in the Alchemical Process When the Substance Breaks Out into Many Colours

Edith Annie Ibbs (1863–1937) and Salomon Trismosin (after)

Watercolour on paper (?)

H 41.8 x W 19.6 cm

Wellcome Collection

The White Peacock
Image credit: Durham University

The White Peacock c.1750

British School

Oil on canvas

H 176 x W 214 cm

Durham University

A Peacock
Image credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A Peacock 1886

Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898)

Oil & gilt gesso on wood

H 237.5 x W 133 cm

Paintings Collection

A Peacock
Image credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A Peacock late 19th C

Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898)

Oil on plaster

H 122.2 x W 82.5 cm

Paintings Collection

Design with Peacocks
© the copyright holder. Image credit: Society of Antiquaries of London

Design with Peacocks 1940s

Edward Scott-Snell (1912–1988)

Oil on panel

H 180 x W 68.5 cm

Society of Antiquaries of London

The Peacock and the Cloud
© the copyright holder. Image credit: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

The Peacock and the Cloud

Raymond Lister (1919–2001)

Tempera (?) on ivory

H 10.4 x W 7.9 cm

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Constellation of Eyes
© the copyright holder. Image credit: RNIB College Loughborough

Constellation of Eyes 1989

Ross Hadley

Oil on canvas

H 244.5 x W 260 cm

RNIB College Loughborough

Study of a Peacock
© the artist's estate. Image credit: NHS Lothian Charity – Tonic Collection

Study of a Peacock

Robin Philipson (1916–1992)

Oil on canvas

H 100 x W 100 cm

NHS Lothian Charity – Tonic Collection

Orientation Panel; Peacock
© the copyright holder. Image credit: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Orientation Panel; Peacock 2008

Amy Ward

Acrylic on board

H 115 x W 115 cm

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board