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Object Record

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Object Name MANTEL
Catalog Number 0985.03.00128
Date ca. 1818
Description The mantel is Carrara marble with an iron, arched insert. Carved relief figures decorate either side. One side has "Hebe" (Goddess of Youth), who carries a pitcher in one hand and a cup in the other; the other side has "Diana" (or Niobe?), who holds only the drape she wears. The figures are located 10 inches up from the base. A horizontal panel is a relief carving of a goddess in a chariot drawn by four horses (previously identified as "Apollo", God of the Sun -- but as the figure is female, it is now tentatively identified as Selene, Goddess of the Moon, often pictured with crescent-shaped flowing garments) through the clouds. A leaf type scroll design is the top center, and a rope-like design surrounds the outside of the arch.
Material stone (marble [Carrara])
Dimensions H-47.5 W-68.25 D-9 inches
Owned John L. Brockenbrough; Lewis D. Crenshaw
Provenance The Carrara marble mantel is one of the original mantels in the parlor of the White House of the Confederacy during the Davis' residency of 1861-1865. It is believed that, in the fall of 1818, John Brockenbrough (1st owner and builder of the house) purchased the Italian marble from General Cocke (Bremo Papers, UVA).

According to Varina Davis, "The Carrara marble mantels were the delight of our children. One was a special favorite with them, on which the whole pilaster was covered by two lovely figures of Hebe and Diana....The little boys, Jefferson and Joe, climbedup to the lips of these 'pretty ladies' and showered kisses on them."
People Brockenbrough, John L.
Crenshaw, Lewis Dabney
Davis, Jefferson
Search Terms Confederate Executive Mansion
Confederate White House
Executive Mansion
White House of the Confederacy
1870 Auction
Subjects Fireplaces