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Wedded Bliss Exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum | Local Treasure

Wedded Bliss Exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum | Local Treasure
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A young woman waits with heavy heart at the window, wondering when — or whether — her betrothed will return alive from overseas. It’s one of many iconic stories explored in the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit “Wedded Bliss: The Marriage of Art and Ceremony.” On display through September 14, the presentation includes 300 years of art and artifacts gathered from around the world, all exploring humankind’s most common yet extraordinary institution: marriage. Ranging from the highly traditional (the Russian empress Alexandra’s nuptial crown) to the ultramodern (dresses crafted out of seashells by Maine artist Brian White), “Wedded Bliss” has a lot to say on a subject that so often leaves us speechless.

The Empire-style gown shown here, made from fine cotton voile brought back from India by her fianc√©, was worn by Sarah Peirce. In 1801, she wed George Nichols in the very room in which the dress is displayed, the parlor of her childhood home, which is now part of PEM’s sprawling campus in historic Salem, Massachusetts.

Peabody Essex Museum. Open daily 10-5. Admission: $15, seniors $13, students $11, free for Salem residents and children 16 and under. East India Square (161 Essex St.), Salem, MA. 866-745-1876, 978-745-9500;


For more about “Wedded Bliss” and photos from the exhibit, visit “Just Looking,” Edgar Allen Beem’s art blog.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Justin Shatwell


Justin Shatwell


Justin Shatwell is a longtime contributor to Yankee Magazine whose work explores the unique history, culture, and art that sets New England apart from the rest of the world. His article, The Memory Keeper (March/April 2011 issue), was named a finalist for profile of the year by the City and Regional Magazine Association.
Updated Sunday, June 9th, 2013

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One Response to Wedded Bliss Exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum | Local Treasure

  1. Mary J Neal July 17, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    I am doing my genealogy research and I would like to get more information on the people – George Nichols and Sarah Peirce [Pierce] in this story. I think that this George Nichols is one of my relatives who I have been researching. Is it possible for Justin Shatwell to contact me? Thank you for any help you can give me.
    Mary Neal 817-239-9184

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