NASHVILLE – Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage recently acquired a limited-edition 19th-century zinc statuette modeled from Clark Mills’ famed Andrew Jackson equestrian statue in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.
Purchasing the prized collection object was part of a yearlong commemoration of Jackson’s 250th birthday.
The original 1853 equestrian statue is in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square. In addition to a replica at the Tennessee State Capitol, other full-size replicas are displayed in New Orleans’ Jackson Square and downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
“As a collecting institution, we are proud to house important historical artifacts that bring life and context to President Jackson. Clark Mills’ statue is the quintessential Andrew Jackson sculpture,” said Howard J. Kittell, president and CEO of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. “It represents Gen. Jackson as a valiant victor, who along with his troops, led a stunning defeat of the British army at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. We look forward to showcasing this statuette on-site for our visitors.”
The zinc statuette was one of 22 that were cast in the late 1850s. Of the 22 known statuettes, 18 are already owned by collecting institutions, with virtually no chance of their ever coming onto the market. The institutions include the New York Historical Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the White House, the Virginia Military Institute and the Tennessee State Museum. Of the remaining four, one was badly damaged, leaving only three as possible candidates for acquisition. It made the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s purchase even more significant.
The Hermitage’s acquisition of the piece was made possible by a contribution from Jackson National Life Insurance Co. in Jackson.
“At Jackson, we believe in supporting local nonprofits that provide opportunities for families to enrich their lives, and we support the Hermitage in its mission to provide quality historical and educational content,” said Emilio Pardo, chief marketing and communications officer at Jackson.
“We hope the Nashville community and visitors to The Hermitage will enjoy seeing the iconic Jackson equestrian statuette.”
The original Lafayette Square statue – along with its recasts and statuettes – features Gen. Jackson tipping his hat atop his horse. It is considered the first major bronze monument successfully cast in the United States. In addition, the statue is unusual in that the horse is rearing up and supported on its hind legs with both front legs raised. This is the first example of a self-supporting equestrian statue so posed. At the time of the statue’s creation, no other noted statue was successfully cast this way.
The original statue was commissioned by the Jackson Monument Committee in 1848 to commemorate Jackson’s distinguished military career. Mills, a self-taught sculptor, cast the statue in 1852, and it was dedicated in 1853.
On March 15 each year, the Hermitage pauses to remember the birthday and accomplishments of Jackson – the orphaned son of Irish immigrants who grew up to become a Tennessee pioneer, one of America’s foremost military heroes and political leaders and the seventh president of the United States. Jackson was born in South Carolina 250 years ago. While he spent his youth in the Carolinas, Tennessee was his adopted home. In 1804, Jackson bought the farm near Nashville that he would name the Hermitage and call home for the rest of his life. He was buried there in 1845.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well-preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, the Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. The Hermitage is currently a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of 200,000-plus annual visitors. In 2015, the Hermitage launched Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm, a state-of-the-art exhibit that delves into the life of Andrew Jackson, including his military and presidential careers. For more information, visit thehermitage.com.