Friday, March 16, 2012

LITTLE BIT OF BAD Louis C. Tiffany, peacock suppers and "a preacher's daughter who never orders water..."

Once upon a time, peacocks were all the rage (hats, jewelry, sheet music, men). We fancy Gustav Manz's platinum peacock pendant, below, adorning one of the young lovelies tasked with entertaining the 150 'Men of Genius' during the famous peacock feast hosted by Louis Comfort Tiffany at his Laurelton Hall estate on May 15, 1914. At the feast, diners were greeted by a young woman dressed as Juno, carrying a live bird. 

Platinum Peacock Pendant set with 45 precious stones
 Gustav Manz for Tiffany & Co
Image (c) Gustav Manz LLC

        Peacock Headdress (1913), a gift of Julia Tiffany Weld
 Museum of the City of New York

Gustav Manz design drawing for a peacock pendant 
Private Collection

The peahen was in vogue, as ornament and as repast, all through the Edwardian Age. A few months before Tiffany's bash, Lady Augusta Gregory (co-founder of the Abbey Theater in Dublin) had organized a more intimate peacock roast in honor Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (the bird was culled from Blunt's personal flock). In attendance were the young Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats, and several other poets, who presented Blunt with manuscripts of their latest verses ensconced in a marble coffer bearing the figure of a reclining nude woman by modernist sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. 

Really, these poets knew how to orchestrate a memorable party (and made certain the press wrote up the occasion for posterity). 

But we digress from today's special entertainment: soprano Gladys Rice on an original Edison disc recording belting out a priceless little tune composed in 1916 by two Tin Pan Alley men of genius Fred Fischer and Grant Clarke. Click on "There's A Little Bit of Bad in Every Good Little Girl"

You can follow the words here:

Sheet Music courtesy Johns Hopkins University Digital Library (

Gladys Rice in an undated photo


Copyright © Laura Mathews, 2014 

All Rights Reserved 

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