The Angel of Death Victorious

Located in Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, is the grave of Francis Haserot whose family were among the elite and wealthy of Cleveland during the early twentieth century. Their fortune was earned in the food industry and so highly successful that the company continues to distribute high-quality canned foods across Ohio and Michigan.

wikimedia ccl Ian MacQueen
Creative Commons License, Ian MacQueen. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Matzen#/media/File:Angel_of_Death_Victorious.jpg

Seated on a marble dais the statue, commonly known as the Haserot Angel, is also referred to as the Weeping Angel although its technical name is The Angel of Death Victorious. The sculpture was created in bronze by Herman Matzen in 1923 for the Haserot family. Herman Matzen was an American sculptor and educator, born in Denmark (July 15, 1861 – April 22, 1938).

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The life-size statue is seated with raised wings. Her hands rest on an inverted torch with flame extinguished. Inverted torches are the more common version of this symbol of death and a life extinguished. It represents mourning.

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With solemn face and blackened eye sockets she appears to be weeping black tears. This eerie effect is caused by a process called patination. Bronze sculptures acquire a green patina formed by the metal’s reaction with carbon dioxides and sulfur dioxides. Although this patina is the equivalent to rust on iron, copper in the bronze reacts with different colors. (Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper).

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Literary Epitaphs

Note that in each of these memorial photographs a token (stones, coins, pennies, a rose and a sunflower) has been left on the grave symbolizing that someone had visited and remembered.

The words on Sylvia Plath’s grave were selected by her poet husband, Ted Hughes, from one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature, Monkey: Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en.

The complete quotation reads: “Even in the midst of fierce flames the Golden Lotus may be planted, the five elements compounded and transposed, and put to new use. When that is done, be which you please, Buddha or Immortal.”

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John Keats was only 25 years old when he died in Rome on February 23rd, 1821 with his friend Joseph Severn by his side. He is buried at the Cemitero Acattolico, Rome.

Keats expressed the wish that on his gravestone no name or date should be written, only the inscription ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water’. Above it was to be carved a Greek lyre with four of its eight strings broken ‘to show his Classical Genius cut off by death before its maturity’ as Severn later interpreted it.

This grave contains all that was mortal, of a young English poet, who, on his death bed, in the bitterness of his heart, at the malicious power of his enemies, desired these words to be engraven on his tomb stone.
Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ In Water
Feb 24th 1821

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Robert Frost died in 1963 when he was 88 years old and is buried in Bennington, Vermont. In 1941 he wrote a poem with eight verses titled The Lesson For Today. The last line of the poem has become one of his most famous and is recorded for eternity on his gravestone. I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

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William Blake 1757-1827, a renowned poet, was also the grandfather of J. R. R. Tolkien. Blake died in obscurity in 1827 and was buried in an unmarked common grave in Bunhill Fields cemetery in London, England. The Blake Society raised donations from around the world to purchase a new memorial to mark his burial place.
Here lies William Blake, 1757-1827, Poet Artist Prophet
I give you the end of a golden string
Only wind it into a ball
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate
Built in Jerusalem’s hall

The following headstones are hand carved memorials artfully created by stonecarver, lettercutter and designer, Teucer Wilson. http://www.teucerwilson.co.uk/portfolio/memorials/memorialsgallery/images-memorials-meikle-jpg/

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The winter is past flowers appear on the earth and the singing of birds is come
This is an adaptation of the Song of Solomon 2:12. “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

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We shall find you in the grey summer garden amid the rain-wet roses; stir of wings; stir of wings and the morning hills behind you. This is an adaptation of the poem Idyll by Siegfried Sassoon.

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This hand carved slate gravestone is located in Kensall Green Cemetery, London. Felix was only a baby when he died, and the symbolism on this stone reflects this. The quotation is from William Shakespeare’s song Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun.
Golden lads and girls all must as chimney-sweepers come to dust

The Sailers’ Graveyard

Inverkeithing, North Queensferry, Fife, Scotland

Within a small graveyard in the village of North Queensferry are the ruins of the Chapel of St. James which was already in existence when Robert the Bruce granted the chapel to Dunfermline Abbey in 1320. Abandoned after the Reformation it is believed to have been destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian troops in 1651. The surviving west wall of the nave contains a stone dated 1752.

When the North Queensferry Sailors’ Society became caretakers of the chapel and the burial ground that same year they built a wall around the area as identified on a marker on the exterior; This Is Done By / The Sailers In / North Ferrie / 17 52. This inscription may relate to the fact that some stone markers were imbedded into the chapel wall so that they would not be lost.

It is rumoured that the infamous grave robbers Burke and Hare visited, and that the graveyard is locked because skeletal bones are surfacing.

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Rosalia’s Mummy

The Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily, holds 8000 mummified bodies. One of the last corpses to be admitted to the Catacombs is the mummy of Rosalia Lombardo who is believed to have died from a bronchial infection/pneumonia. Born on 13 December 1918 she died on 6 December 1920 shortly before her second birthday. Her father is believed to be Mario Lombardo although there are no official documents to confirm this. According to legend Mario was so distraught that he contracted an embalmer named Alfredo Salafia to preserve Rosalia for eternity. The cadaver was injected with a fluid to kill bacteria and fungi, desiccate the body without over-drying, and give the body rigidity.

There are no known photographs of Rosalia when she was alive. Earlier photos of the mummification show a very lifelike Rosalia. However, her skin tone has become discoloured with each passing decade most likely due to the damaging effects from light sources which has also changed her hair colour to blonde (she was born a brunette).

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Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/z56SE/comment/344185950

This tiny sleeping beauty whose hair is adorned with a yellow ribbon rests beneath a faded silk blanket in a glass coffin. The casket which has been hermetically sealed within a glass enclosure filled with nitrogen gas to prevent decay is seated on a marble pedestal in a small chapel. On her chest is a faded talisman showing a cherub holding a lamb which represents purity and innocence.

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Source: http://sicilymummystudies.blogspot.com/2016/07/mummy-monday-little-rosalia-lombardo.html

Over the years, speculation was made that the mummy of Rosalia Lombardo had decayed and had been replaced with a wax reproduction. Rosalia’s coffin was x-rayed for a documentary by the History Channel in the 2000s. It revealed a skeletal structure and internal organs that were still intact. Her brain had shrunk 50% due to the mummification process.

No one had ever looked beneath the blanket that covers Rosalia’s body since she was sealed inside her coffin. When National Geographic performed an MRI to produce the first 3D images of Rosalia’s mummified body in 2009 it showed her arms resting at her sides. The MRI also confirmed that all her organs were intact.

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Source: https://owlcation.com/humanities/RosaliaLombardo

This Grave Is Full

This chest tomb located in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Bathwick, Bath, Somerset, England is a memorial to the Clark family. Cremation was not legal until 1885 therefore it would appear that four bodies were buried within the tomb. It has inscriptions on the top and all panels.

Sacred to the Memory of JOSEPH CLARK, a native of London, who died 14th December 1842 aged 73 [or5] years

Also of SOPHIA CLARK, niece of the above named and daughter of the late THOMAS CLARK Esq of Broughton near Kettering, Northants, died 25th September 1843 aged 36 years

Also to the Memory of SARAH CLARK, sister to the above SOPHIA CLARK, died 6th March 1846 aged 40 years, beloved by all who knew her.

Also in Memory of SUSAN, wife of JAMES ABBEY of Lubbenham in the County of Leicester, Esq, (and sister of SARAH & SOPHIA CLARK) died 30th April 1866 aged 63 years. She knew that her Redeemer liveth

This grave is full, May 1866

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Wooden Sculpture

At the end of 1931, the Old Cemetery in Zakopane, Poland, was entered in the register of monuments and given the name of the Meritorious Cemetery. The wooden marker identifying the grave of Wanda Gentil-Tippenhauer was made by pupils working under the direction of Polish sculptor Anthony Rząsa.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulpablopawel/229707231/

Wanda Gentil-Tippenhauer was a Polish artist who painted with watercolor, and an author who wrote about her love of skiing and the Tatras Mountains. Although Wanda married Wacław Widigier on June 13, 1924 in Warsaw, she later became the companion of Józef Oppenheim. Wanda was with him when he was shot and killed during a robbery at his home on February 28, 1946. Wanda was shot in the head and thereafter combed her hair in a manner that hid the resultant scar.

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Creative Commons License. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nagrobek_W._Gentil_Tippenhauer.jpg

Antoni Rząsa, a sculptor who created wooden sculptures inspired by folk art described his work: “Through my sculpture, I strive to reflect various human emotions – joy, sacrifice, love, wisdom, suffering, despair, horror. Sometimes, my characters express a silent question: who is this person and what is the purpose of their passing. I call (…) for human dignity, which is nowadays becoming ever so scarce.”

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Source: https://mojecmentarze.blogspot.com/2012/05/wanda-gentil-tippenhauer-widigierowa.html

Borsi Torchbearer

The Porte Sante cemetery is a monumental cemetery in Florence located within the fortified bastion of the basilica of San Miniato al Monte. This interesting cemetery, from which it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary view of Florence, houses some illustrious tombs including the Borsi memorial to numerous family members.

The memorial to Averardo Borsi and his daughter Laura is adorned with the statue of a naked prone man holding a flaming torch in his right hand with his left fist clenched.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

The torch is symbolic of the darkness of death and the light in the world to come. A winged cherub looks down on the grave located in the section reserved for non-Catholics in the cemetery. The family were not religious, and as Averardi and Laura died without the sacrament they were denied a Christian burial.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

Averardo was married to Verdiana Fabbri known as Diana. They had three children; Laura born on 31 December 1886, Giosue born on 10 June 1888 and Gino born on 10 December 1891.

Averardo died on 10 December 1910 due chiefly to grief over a family tragedy which involved the honour of his daughter. In 1908, Laura had given birth to a son named Dino following a relationship with Gabriele Maria D’Annunzio (known as Gabriellino), an Italian actor, director and screenwriter. Laura, who was a brilliant and promising actress, died on 18 July 1912 due to complications from what was most likely food poisoning after eating raw oysters. Her infant son, who was never recognized by his father, died in March 1913.

flickr_Michael Hamburg
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409822710/

Giosue Borsi was born on 10 June 1888. He was a journalist for his father’s newspaper and a famed poet. As an Italian Lieutenant in WW1 known for his valor, he was killed in action on 10 Nov 1915. On the centenary of his birth to recognize his life and his sacrifice, a plaque was placed in the memorial chapel of Piazza di Montenero, Livorno, Italy.

Gino served as a Corporal with the 2nd Artillery Regiment. In 1916 he married Chiti Lilia (1893 – 1973) with whom he had three daughters: Giulia born in 1920; Lauretta who was born in 1921 died in Florence on October 26, 1927 after an excruciating illness; and Laura born in 1928 – it was the tradition at the time that if the first child died, a second child was given the same name in order to perpetuate the name within the family. Gino died in Florence in 1976.

Epitaphs on the memorial record the lives of

Averardo Borsi 1858-1910 and his wife Diana 1865-1942

Laura Borsi1886-1912 and her son Dino Borsi 1908-1913

Gino 1891-1976 and his wife Lilia 1893-1973, and his daughter Lauretta Borsi 1921-1927

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Mors Ianua Vitae: Death is the gate of life