The peacock was a central motif of the Aesthetic Movement. The rich colors are perfectly in keeping with the colors that were favored in the style, and the exoticism of the peacock itself reflects the romanticism of the period. The Leighton House in London, perhaps the best example of an aesthetic movement interior, has a taxidermy peacock and the artist Frederic Church installed one in the central hall of his home Olana in upstate New York.
While this specimen is not original to the house, the Eustis family did have a number of examples of taxidermy birds in their collection from this period. Victorian era methods involved harmful chemicals like arsenic, which is why these pieces are not on view.