The design was created in 1974 for the Opera Gala Guild’s Decorator Show House in the historic Grace Phillips Johnson house in College Park.
This romantic room is planned around a mid-19th-century iron bed painted in an imitation of Oriental black lacquer work. The bed is decorated with abalone shell flowers and birds and an intricate border pattern of both abalone shell and paint, creating a rainbow of glistening color. The vignette also includes Reverie, a lithograph by Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939); All American Sawn, a mixed-media painting by Georgia artist Corinne Workmaster (b. 1926); paintings by Jeannette and Hugh F. McKean (1908–95); a still life by Jeannette’s mother, Elizabeth Morse Genius (1872–1928); a pair of Tiffany blown-glass candle lamps, c. 1905, that were a wedding gift to Mrs. Genius; a pair of chalk-on-paper drawings by Arthur Bowen Davies (1862–1928); and, commissioned just for this exhibit, a floral textile stitched by Ava Maxwell of the Museum’s staff and a shell mirror fashioned by Bea’s Tropical Designs of Deltona, Florida. Mrs. McKean, an accomplished artist and long-standing member of the American Society of Interior Designers, designed many vignettes over the course of her career. This particular installation pays homage to these themed interior scenes that she developed from objects in the Morse collection.