An Artist Visits the White House Past

Paintings by Peter Waddell

A Bird that Whistles

In Jefferson's Cabinet, 1803

President Thomas Jefferson’s office, in the southwest corner of the house, was his private sanctuary that few visitors ever saw, but where he worked with his secretary, Meriwether Lewis, who would later lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was here that Jefferson enjoyed his many intellectual interests, including geography, plants, architecture, and animals. He kept a mocking bird as a pet, which would “regale him with its sweetest notes.”


John Riley, Former Vice President of Education Programs at the White House Historical Association,
on A Bird that Whistles

"An Artist Visits the White House Past" (if no audio, click here)

In Depth

Read William Seale’s catalog essay for A Bird that Whistles, and discover the historical resources used to create the painting.

All images © the White House Historical Association except where otherwise noted.