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Sans Souci

Artist: Chauncey B. Ives (1810/12-1894); American working in Rome
Year: 1866
Medium: Marble
Size: 36.5" H
Original Location: Central Parlor

Adelicia Acklen purchased this statue from Chauncey B. Ives’s studio in 1866 while in Rome on her Grand Tour. Ives originally went to Florence for study in 1844 thanks to assistance of three wealthy Philadelphians, Charles Chauncey, William H. Dillingham, and Charles McAllister. [Kasson, Marble Queens and Captives, pg 14] In 1851 Ives moved to Rome where he created the artwork Acklen later purchased. His friend and fellow sculptor, Randolph Rogers, also moved from Florence to Rome that year. Ives’s sculpture depicts a young girl blithely reclining. Her head is thrown back in a daydream, the strap of her dress has fallen off her left shoulder, and a forgotten book lays in her lap, loosely held in her left hand. “The many images of children found in the Belmont Mansion were part of a rich, mid-nineteenth-century visual culture that constructed childhood as an untroubled period of angelic innocence – a construction that, like the type of the true woman, contributed to an idealized vision of domestic life.” [Lessing, Angels in the Home, pg 48] Purchasing this sculpture after the Civil War, this sculpture could have also been a way for Acklen to remind herself and her guests that the toil, sorrow, and deprivation of the war were at an end. [Lessing, Angels in the Home, pg 50] Sans Souci (meaning “carefree” in French) was placed in the Central Parlor where it remains today. The location of Sans Souci in the Central Parlor insured that it would be viewed by visitors to the Belmont Mansion and by the Acklen family often.

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