Finding a Perfect Seat, a Beautiful View
Restoring the walls, hanging curtains and finding carpet were crucial to setting the backdrop for The Central Parlor, however two critical elements were also needed for the room: furniture and paintings. The original mirror had remained in the room as had the original Cornelius and Company gas chandelier. The best parlor suit that the Acklens had was made by John Henry Belter of New York. Currently eight of the known fourteen known pieces of this set are at Belmont. These pieces would have been used in the two “best parlors”
The small center table, the small sofa and chairs were placed in the Tete-a-Tete room leaving the pair of meridiennes and a pair of armless side chairs for the Central Parlor. Fortunately, another suit of parlor furniture was given to the mansion by Gloria Graves. This suit was made by Belter’s number one competitor Alexander Roux also of New York. One of Roux’s most elaborate patterns, Adelicia would not have been embarrassed by this suit of furniture. An original center table in the collection completed the furniture for the room.
An article in May 18, 1881, issue of the Louisville Courier Journal listed three paintings and one statue in the room. The statue of San Souci by C. B. Ives has been in the collection for a number of years. When the 1960s wallpaper was removed, nail holes for three large paintings were evident thus identifying their former locations. One of the paintings was a 5’ x 7’ portrait of the Acklen Twins; its current location is unknown. The painting of the Franklin children, almost the same size, was used in its place. A copy of another original painting known to be in the room, The Napoleon Fisherman Family by Riedel, was hung as well. The largest painting was a floor to ceiling Acklen family portrait by Robert Gschwndt of New Orleans. While the painting was lost years ago, the frame survived as a mirror and has been part of the collection. It was decided to remove the mirror, replace with a gauze fabric, and rehang the frame in its original location to represent the family portrait.