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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GPS ADDRESS

Belmont Blvd & Acklen Avenue 

Nashville, TN 37212

MAILING ADDRESS

1900 Belmont Blvd

Nashville, TN 37212

615-460-5459

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The architecture of Belmont Mansion makes it one of the most significant homes of 19th century Tennessee.

Sold by the Acklen family in 1887, the house went to a developer who began one of Nashville’s early suburbs.

It was then purchased by two women who in 1890 started a college which evolved into Belmont University. Today the Belmont Mansion Association, which was formed in 1972, owns the collection, runs the museum, and shares this unique story of 19th century Nashville with visitors from far and near.

Photos by Ed Houk