Description: This landscape painting shows lush greenery in foreground, with a brick house on a hill in background, and a tall brick tower on left. Three figures, two men on horseback, and a large African American man emerging to meet them, dominate the composition at lower center. A diminutive figure is visible outside the green house and a horse and carriage travels down the path from the house.
Historical Note: This painting, by an unknown artist, depicts a distant view of Belmont Mansion, which is featured prominently at top center. The scene in the foreground includes what looks like a vineyard, while greenhouses and a water tower can be seen at left and center, and the curving paths of formal gardens with gazebos and statuary leads up to the house itself. Engineer/Architect Adolphus Heiman remodeled the house for Adelicia and Joseph Acklen just before the Civil War to give the impression of an Italian villa. The oversized figures in the foreground allude to the wealth of the gardens at Belmont as the African American worker extending an out-of-scale bunch of grapes to two men on horseback might be seen as a symbol of hospitality. Produce was an important part of the hostess' reputation but vegetable and fruit gardens tended to be placed on the perimeter of the grounds, so as to not distract from the formal beauty as one approached the home.
Institution: Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
Publisher: Digital Initiatives, James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University
Rights: Images reproduced on this website are intended for individual, educational use only. For research inquiries about specific objects or requests for high resolution images, contact the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art.