Created by
Baker, Rachelle A., American
Commissioned by
ELLE DECOR, American, founded 1989
H x W: 3900 pixels × 2700 pixels
40.18 MB
For this commission for the cover of Elle Decor magazine, illustrator Rachelle A. Baker was asked to “re-see" the iconic “Yellow Room” designed by American socialite and decorator Nancy Lancaster for her home on London’s Avery Row. The original room featured marigold yellow walls along with two “blackamoor” figure tables. The term “blackamoor” describes a dark-skinned Black figure, often a man. The use of blackamoor depictions in decorative arts began in the 17th Century and expanded in popularity through the 1850s to 1890s. The figures are most often shown holding tables or trays above their heads, while wearing brightly colored gold and jeweled turbans or jewelry, and are common representations of race, bondage, and exoticism in the decorative arts. Baker told NMAAHC she “re-imagined the room as something more modern and featured a seated figure (a Black woman), making eye contact with the viewer and commanding the room.”
Baker’s illustration was one of two featured covers for the March 2021 issue of the magazine, the first complete issue overseen by Elle Décor’s first Black editor, Asad Syrkett.
A digital sketch created by Rachelle A. Baker for the March 2021 cover of Elle Decor magazine. The sketch is a symbolic re-imagining of Nancy Lancaster’s famous “Yellow Room," and features the distinct elements of the room rendered in red, green, and purple sketched outlines against a white background.
At the very top of the image, the word [ELLE] is printed vertically, beside [DECOR] in large, green, uppercase letters. Underneath the "R" in Decor, the issue date [MARCH 2021] is printed as a subscript. Fine red lines outline the room's barrel vault ceiling, cornices, walls, skirting boards, and double doors, while most of the fixtures and furniture are outlined in either green or purple. Along the left wall, are two fringed settees in green, separated by two purple side chairs, with purple curtains at the corner. Sketched in green along the back wall is a bookshelf with a vase on top, and a round mirror behind the vase. The partial sketch of a chandelier hovers above a purple armchair in the middle of the room. A female figure, faintly sketched in blue, sits on the purple armchair with her proper left hand on her cheek and her proper right hand resting on the chair itself. In the foreground is a writing desk sketched in green, with several decorative objects on top in purple. In the center of the image, handwritten dark green text on top of the illustration read [THE LATEST ISSUE / HOME] followed by placeholder text.
Place depicted
London, Greater London, England, Europe
London, Greater London, England, Europe
Visual Arts
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
preliminary sketches
digital media - born digital
Interior design
Mass media
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Rachelle A. Baker
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
© Rachelle Baker, ® Elle Decor

Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at

Share this page