Prints & Engravings
Today there is little appreciation of engravings, but this was not the case in the nineteenth century. Engravings were the sole means by which most people could see the “Old Masters” or the works of artists from other countries. The competent engraver was viewed as an artist. Both the American Art Union and the Royal Academy of England recognized engraving as a fine art.
Adelicia collected during a period in which the mezzotint and line engraving dominated the field of large framing prints. Most if not all of Adelicia’s prints would have been a combination of engraving and mezzotint. Mercy’s Dream by A. H. Ritchie (American, 1822-1895) from a painting by Daniel Huntington (American, 1816-1909) was a part of her collection and considered one of the great works of this period.
The popularity of prints was given a great deal of help by the establishment of the Art Unions, both in this country and in England. The first Art Union was started in London in 1836; the Printsellers’ Association was founded in 1847. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert also helped popularize prints with royal patronage. By the middle of the nineteenth century, pictures of topical interest were the most popular. The collection of known prints at Belmont followed true to form in that they all pertained to literary and historical subject matter.
The Adelicia Acklen Art Collection: Prints
Adelicia Acklen collected art throughout her life; it was a passion for her and her second husband, Joseph A. S. Acklen, and continued to be a pursuit after his death. The 1887 estate inventory made upon her death documented the artwork in her possession and listed 13 prints, though none were listed by name. Following her death, many of the items in Belmont Mansion were sold while many were inherited by her children and remained in the family. In the years since Belmont Mansion opened as a museum, the staff and Board of Directors have worked to restore the artwork to the home. Below is a list of the prints that have been identified by name through research as having once belonged to the Acklen family.
All items listed here are currently part of the Belmont Mansion Association Collection unless marked by a * indicating the piece is in a private collection.
Arco Della Paca. The Arco Della Paca is a gate in Milan erected by Napoleon when he was crowned King of Italy in 1805. There was no standard print known for this subject in the 19th century. Originally located in a second floor bedroom.
Duomo Di Milano. A print of the Cathedral in Milan was originally located in a second floor bedroom. There was no standard print known for this subject in the 19th century.
Mercy’s Dream by either John Cheney, American, 1801-1885, or Andrew Ritchie. From the painting by Daniel Huntington, American, 1816-1909. Originally located in one of the second floor bedrooms.
The Playground by Ferdinand Jean Joubert, English, 1810-1884. From the painting by Thomas Webster, RA, English, 1800-1866. The print had been published for the Art Union of Glasgow in 1859. Originally located in a second floor bedroom.
* Prince Albert possibly by Forster & Louis. From the painting by Franz Xavier Winterhalter, German, 1805-1873. Original location unknown.
* Queen Victoria possibly by Forster & Louis. From the painting by Alfred Edward Chalon, R. A., English, 1780-1873. Original location unknown.
Shakespeare and His Friends by James Faed, Scottish, 1821-1911. From the painting by John Faed, Scottish, 1820-1902. Print was published for the Cosmopolitan Art Association in 1850-1851. Originally located in a second floor bedroom.
The Village Blacksmith by George Patterson, active 1845-1860. From the painting by James Herring, English, 1794-1867. Print was published for the Cosmopolitan Art Association in 1858-1859. Originally located in a second floor bedroom.
Washington Irving and His Friends by Thomas O. Barlow, English, 1824-1889. From the painting by Christian Schussele, American, 1824?-1879. Originally located in a second floor bedroom.