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Anyone who has taken the tour or visited our winery will remember the stories of Bonnie Scotland and Robert Green. Two of the most iconic and important figures in our history, you may remember the painting you saw in the hall. This painting is a copy that was done years ago so that we could accurately interpret the property to the best of our ability, while respecting the family’s decision to keep the original painting. We were recently notified that the painting will be coming up at a public auction and because of the importance of the subject matter, the painting has gained a lot of local and international interest. It is our intent to bid on the painting and bring it back to the hall where it once hung. We need your help!
The painting is important on many levels:
- General William G.Harding, of Belle Meade farm, had lost two of his top stallions, Vandal and Jack Malone, in 1872. Needing a replacement of top quality, Harding purchased Bonnie Scotland and brought him to Nashville. Although the horse was 19 years old, as a proven sire with bloodlines compatible to those already established at Belle Meade, Bonnie Scotland began the second phase of his stallion career. Standing his first season in Tennessee in 1873, the resulting crop included Withers Stakes winner, Bombast (g. 1874), and later crops produced champions Bramble, Luke Blackburn, Glidelia, and George Kinney. Every winner of the Kentucky derby since 1960 can trace their bloodlines back to Bonnie and Belle Meade.
- It depicts one of our property’s most recorded and famous African Americans, Robert (Bob) Green. Green was a wedding present to William Giles Harding and lived on the property for most of his life as a slave. He became the highest paid employee on the property post emancipation and died with international fame in 1906. He was buried on the Belle Meade property and the location of his grave is still unknown. Bob Green is a huge part of our Journey to Jubilee research program. The program’s goal is to research the 136 enslaved workers and the employees on the property post emancipation. To have an original painting of an African American employee once enslaved on the property would be a huge breakthrough in the interpretation of the African American experience here at Belle Meade.
- It is an important piece of American Decorative Art painted by Herbert S. Kittredge (April 2, 1853- May 7, 1881) in New York. The painting was completed on May 17, 1879 according to an article in the Nashville Banner.
Because of the extreme interest in the painting the price will be far above our collections department’s budget. This is where you can help! Without your support the painting may be lost to us forever! In the event that we are unable to acquire the painting the funds raised will be used for future restoration of the mansion and funding research for our Journey to Jubilee program. We have very little time to prepare
Thank you for your support of Belle Meade Plantation history!
You can donate online Here.
or please make your checks payable to:
Attn: Donation to # Bring back Bonnie and Bob
Belle Meade Plantation
Don’t let Bonnie go over the ocean, Don’t let Bonnie go over the sea, With your support we can bring Bonnie back to Belle Meade!