If you were to visit Nashville's Belmont Mansion right now, you'd see a wonderful transformation taking place. The mansion is restoring one of the most important rooms in the house. Or so it was to Adelicia Acklen, the mistress of Belmont. They're restoring her bedroom.
Above is a picture of the bedroom as it was in Adelicia's day and as they envision it after renovation. This project has been a long time coming, and comes at great cost. Not only in financial expense, but in the hours upon hours invested in returning the room to its former grandeur.
A worker puts finishing touches on the ceiling.
Mark Brown, Executive Director of the Belmont Mansion, inspects the hand painted paper that literally covers every inch of wall space in Adelicia's bedroom. When I depicted the heroine, Claire, getting a little "dizzy" when she first walks into Adelicia's bedroom, that was with good reason. It's quite overwhelming when you see it in person. And just wait until you see the carpet! It's currently being hand stitched in England.
The scenes the wallpaper depicts are from Les Aventures de Telemaque, an 18th century French novel that Adelicia had a fondness for (and that I included in A Lasting Impression).
The same wallpaper appears in the foyer of The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home, only a few miles from Belmont.
I think it's interesting that the wallpaper was quite in vogue in the 1830s when it was installed at The Hermitage. But in 1853, when Adelicia and her husband Joseph built the Belmont Mansion, it wasn't quite "the thing" anymore. So she chose to put the wall covering in her bedroom instead of a more public place in the home.
Perhaps the scenes from the story were no longer as "in vogue" as they'd once been. But Adelicia still loved them. And they are beautiful!
You'll see a gilded mirror (below) that will soon be installed above the fireplace. And here are Linda Patrick (a docent at Belmont) and Mark Brown as they're showing me around.
It's always a privilege when I'm welcomed at Belmont, and I never tired of visiting there. Being in Adelicia's bedroom and seeing it "come alive" again is so moving. Standing there, staring at the scenes, the colors so vivid and detailed, I can't help but think she'd be pleased! I sure hope so.
Just for fun, and in honor of Adelicia's bedroom renovation, I'm giving away a copy of A Lasting Impression this week. If you'd like to be entered in the giveaway (for U.S. mailing addresses only, please, due to postage costs, sorry International friends), then leave a comment below by 9PM Central next Monday night and indicate your interest. I'll draw a winner and announce it here on next Tuesdays' blog.
Thanks for taking this little tour with me. I get caught up in history all too easily. And speaking of… There's one last video in the To Whisper Her Name video vignettes. I've included it below with a link that explains how you can share the video and get your name entered into a drawing for a hot-off-the-press copy of the novel.
But first, tell me, have you done any redecorating lately? Made any changes around the house? Hung any wallpaper? : ) I've been doing some spritzing up with the help of a friend who's a wonderfully gifted decorator and who's a power shopper to the max. She finds the greatest things. And uses coupons too, which I love! Woman after my own heart.
Blessings on your Tuesday, friends,
Kentucky Derby Winners from Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville, TN
The setting of To Whisper Her Name
Coming October 23