Fashion - Shell Demi Parure

The 19th century was a time of great change in women's fashion. The century began with high waistlines and straight skirts, and by the 1850s, the style had evolved into a more natural waistline and full skirt. Adelicia Acklen's clothing choices showcase the most fashionable trends from Europe and North America during that time. Follow Belmont Mansion as we embark on a nine part series showcasing the dresses, jewelry, and fashion choices of Adelicia Acklen.

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This Venetian-made Shell demi-parure was purchased by Adelicia in Naples, Italy, when she went on her Grand Tour of Europe in 1866. This set would have been considered costume jewelry and therefore not worth much monetary value, however, it would have evoked the allure of a far off place. To people in the land-locked upper South, these delicate seashells would have boasted of travel to exotic, foreign beaches. The ability to travel, even with in the United States, was an uncommon luxury in 1866, and Adelicia’s exceptional trip to Europe was quite ostentatious, making the presence and meaning of this souvenir significant.

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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