Thursday, October 22, 2009

a long ago birthday shout out


October 20th ...Happy Birthday to the Belmont Mansion Twin's Laura and Corinne Acklen...

according to the family bible.....born in the city of Nashville..Laura at 2:30 am and Corinne at 3 am . Corinne was born as the Scots say to see sights or with the second vision as she was born with a caul..this is part of the bag of waters membrane babies are born with that sometimes , if intact can look like a veil ...i'm told.. ...
folks use to be quite superstitious about them and sailors bought them from new mothers for luck at sea. there is a statue at Belmont Mansion called the sleeping children by William Reinhart in their memory . it was purchased in Rome Italy on the family's Grand Tour... also there are several paintings of them that were done during their short life time and at least one after.. the whereabouts of these paintings are unfortunatly unknown. we can hope someday they will be discovered and maybe even returned to the Mansion .

one we know somethings about is this..................
The Nashville Daily Gazette publishes a story about the painter Robert Gschwindt who has opened a studio on an upper floor of Mr. E. Morton music store at 33 or 35 Union Street. There are two paintings in the window and in the studio is the painting of ''The Twins Ascending into Heaven". on september 9th the Nashville Union and American describes the same painting still in his studio: " it is a family tableau, representing the four children and nurse of the gentleman above mentioned [Col. Acklen] preparing for the celebration of their mother's birthday. it was as a memorial of two of the children (twins) whose death occurred previously, that the picture was originated.
In the foreground the nurse is seated with one of the twins in her lap twinning a wreath for its head, while the other stands besides reaching a rose she has gathered for her sister's crown; an elder sister (Emma Franklin) brings a basket laden with floral treasures and a brother ( Joseph Hayes Acklen) on the opposite side is half hidden by the foliage, from which he is culling the choicest specimens, as incidents, a pet kitten is seen playing with a ball, at the feet of the nurse, while a dog, a jealous little favorite, watches its movements with suspicion.
the artist was forced to exercise his imagination in conveying the fact of the children's death, and he has done it, thus poetically and delicately; they are first portrayed in life as described, then, in the clouds above we see the same images repeated but spiritualized, and accompanied by their guardian angels, their coming with smiles welcome.

[this painting hung in the central parlor or maybe the library at Belmont Mansion. Gschwindt had a studio in New Orleans and was in Nashville for at least two summers (1855 & 57) painting. he was born in Hungary. he studied at the Academy of Arts in Vienna, The Academy of Rome and with Thomas Couture in Paris. he first is listed in New Orleans in December of 1854. he spends the civil war years in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Paris where he paints portraits of the Russian Court. he returns to New Orleans by November 1866 and leaves for the last time in 1867, he returns to Europe where he later exhibits genre paintings in the Paris salons]



The Twins lived two and a half years dying of Scarlett Fever in 1855....
they were also baptised at the downtown presbyterian church with waters brought to their family from the river jordan. the girls older brother was the first child baptised in the new building .. built in 1851