Category Archives: USA

Depictions in Marble and Stone

I am always awestruck by the astounding talent of artists and the intricacy of detail in statuary. Some of the most beautiful statues are found in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno, an extensive cemetery located on a hillside in the district of Staglieno of Genoa, Italy. Covering an area of more than a square kilometre, it is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe and is famous for its monument sculpture.

1-Consigliere
The tomb of the Consigliere family is attended by a woman praying on her knees. The sculpture was created by Luigi Orengo who worked extensively with funerary sculpture, especially in the Cemetery of Staglieno where he created dozens of tombs and funeral graves. The mausoleum is decorated with laurel leaves representing the “evergreen” memory of the deceased, and a Greek cross with four arms equal in length which is the traditional symbol of Christian faith.

 

This sculptural group was created in bronze and Carrara marble by Mariano Benlliure. The sculpture represents the funeral procession of the famous bullfighter Joselito el Gallo. The body of the deceased is carved in marble to highlight the figure. At the head of the procession a woman carries a bronze miniature of the Virgin Macarena to whom the bullfighter was very devoted.
Cemetery of San Fernando, Seville, Spain

 

christ going to tomb
I can’t find any source information on this second representation of a funeral procession. It is recorded as ‘Christ going to the tomb’, but I have no confirmation of this data. Translation of the script reads; Proceeding towards the resurrection.
Cemetery Viersen, Germany

 

Cimitero Monumentale Di Milano
This statue depicts a WWI soldier ‘s grave. Luigi Fossati (31-1-1896 – 28-10-1918) who lost his life in the battle of Somme in the Montello hills of Italy. Translation of the dedication reads: Gloomy night enveloped the heroic soul of Luigi Fussati who experienced unspeakable torments under the red dust of the Montello.
Momma and brothers Giullo, Pietro, Giuseppe, Arialdo.
In everlasting memory.
Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, Italy.

 

cypress lawn
This large monument is the burial site of lawyer LLoyd Tevis who was also a successful American business man who headed the Wells Fargo Banking and Pony Express lines for more than 20 years. The “Tevis Cup”, an equestrian endurance ride held annually which requires riders to make the 100 mile Pony Express journey from Tahoe to Auburn in one day is named for him.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA, USA.

 

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Charles-Joseph Pigeon (29 March 1838 – 18 March 1915) became famous due to his invention and manufacture in 1884 of the Pigeon lamp, a non-exploding gasoline lamp. He commissioned the family grave sculpture to hold up to 18 family members. The sculpture is a life-sized image of Pigeon holding a notebook and pencil in his hand. An angel overlooks the vignette of him as he lays beside his wife on a bed.
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France

 

Montparnasse3This marble sculpture entitled “The separation of the couple” is not a funerary monument. Until 1965 it was situated in the garden of Luxembourg and was removed because it was considered obscene. I guess they thought the dead wouldn’t mind the obscenity.
Montparnasse Cemitiere, Paris, France

 

Schaub
Heinrich Schaub, born 5 May 1843, died 29 Jan 1909
Schaub commissioned Leipzig architect Emil Franz Hänsel to design a tomb which was sculpted by Otto Wutzler and August Rantz. The monument features fluted pillars and a bronze framed bronze door. A bronze sculpture of a youth kneels in front of a door  representing the eternal kingdom of the dead.
Südfriedhof Cemetery, Leipzig. Germany

 

Staglieno
The figure which rests upon the Burrano tomb was sculpted by Piero da Verona.
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy

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John Mayo

John Mayo, the first representative from Harwich to the general court in 1711 is buried in Brewster Old Burying Ground, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States. Aged 70 years at the time of his death he was born in 1655 in Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York.

His grave is marked with a table gravestone and a dedication engraved in stone which was cleaned in 2006. John Mayo / Died Feb 1, 1725 / Et. 70 Years / First Representative To The General / Court From The Town Of Harwich
Note: Old English abbreviation Et. or Aet means ‘aged’.

He was representative of the general court for six years and the town treasurer for three years.

John’s wife, Hannah Freeman, was a direct descendant of Mayflower passengers William Brewster & Mary Wentworth. Hannah was born in 1665 and died in 1743.

Hannah Mayo

Here Lyes Y Body / Of Mrs Hannah / Mayo Relict Of / Mr. John Mayo / Who Died February / Y 15th 1743 + In Y / 80th Year Of Her Age.
Translated as, Here lies the body of Mrs. Hannah Mayo widow of Mr. John Mayo who died February the 15th 1743 + in the 80th  year of her age.

Miss Baker, Space Monkey

The gravestone outside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, frequently has bananas placed on it.

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The stone is a memorial to a squirrel monkey who in 1959 was one of the first two animals that were launched into space by the United States and safely returned. The monkey purchased at a pet shop in Miami, Florida, was named Miss Baker due to its docile manner during testing and monitoring to ensure its suitability to the environment of space.

Miss Baker wore a helmet lined with rubber and chamois leather plus a jacket for the launch. A respiration meter was affixed to her nose with model cement, and she was fitted into a snug capsule of shoebox size insulated with rubber and fiberglass. Life support was an oxygen bottle with a pressure valve, and lithium hydroxide to absorb exhaled carbon dioxide and moisture. One cannot imagine the terror that animal endured.

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On May 28, 1959, Miss Baker and her companion Miss Able rocketed to an altitude of 300 miles for a 16-minute flight which also included 9 minutes of weightlessness. The capsule was recovered near Puerto Rico.

 

Thereafter Miss Baker lived at the Naval Aerospace Medical Center in Pensacola, Florida until 1971 when she was moved to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville where she entertained museum visitors.

Miss Baker died of kidney failure in 1984 at a clinic at Auburn University after attaining the record for oldest living squirrel monkey.

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ALPHA & OMEGA

Alpha (A) and Omega (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. These letters are often reproduced on gravestones, and when displayed separately Alpha is depicted on the left and Omega on the right.

Frequently the letters are combined to create a recognized Christian symbol derived from the book of Revelation in which they are mentioned in separate verses.
1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

They are commonly used in conjunction with a cross, a crown or the Chi-Rho (a monogram of chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ) which are the first two letters of the Greek word Khristos.

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On a side note, there is a cemetery in Henderson, Vance County, North Carolina, USA which bears the name Alpha Omega Cemetery.

The Mythical Sphinx

The sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion, protector of the dead, it is historically connected to the pyramid, the ultimate in tombs.

There are two types of sphinx; most famously the Egyptian sphinx modeled after the Great Sphinx at Giza which represents a male. The head is dressed with a neme, the striped headcloth worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Occasionally a false beard is displayed. As beards were associated with the gods, Pharaohs wore false beards for ceremonies to express their importance and divine ranking.

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In March 1865 Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Jacob Bigelow proposed that the Mount Auburn Cemetery commission “a public monument in memory of the heroes who have fallen in the present war for the preservation of the Union.” When the trustees postponed making a decision he commissioned the Irish-born sculptor, Martin Milmore, to create a Sphinx to be cut from a single block of Hallowell granite, 15 feet long and about 8 feet high.

The Sphinx was chosen as it represented the strength of a lion and the beauty and benevolence of a woman. The inscription was composed by Dr. Bigelow “American Union Preserved; African Slavery Destroyed; By the Uprising of a Great People; By the Blood of Fallen Heroes.”

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The Brunswig tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana was built to commemorate Lucien Napoleon Brunswig’s wife, Annie Mercer Brunswig and their son Lucien Mercer Brunswig (1882-1892) who died within a month of each other. His testament instructed his family to bury him inside the tomb with his wife and child. Brunswig is also interred with his two daughters, Henrietta Rosalie Brunswig (1879-1963), and Annie Brunswig Wellborn (1881-1982) and her husband.

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Source: http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2015/04/metairie-cemetery-tombs-pyramid-statues/

In Greek tradition, the sphinx was in the form of a female who was often bare-breasted and is therefore associated with maternal love.

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Many neo-Egyptian designs in modern cemeteries feature the Greek variety which is often portrayed with the wings of a bird.

female winged_alter friedhof
Creative Commons License, Joachim S. Müller. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74743437@N00/8695400390

Within the Hildburghausen Cemetery in Germany a winged Sphinx sits atop the headstone belonging to the 19th century Egyptologist, Doctor Friedrich Carl Ludwig Sickler.

A pyramid marks the Schoenhofen Tomb in the Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. The entry door with a snake coiled on the handle is flanked by a sphinx and an angel. It is the final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen, a Chicago brewer.

The Drake Mausoleum contains members of the family and extended relatives. Originally at Laurel Hill Cemetery it was moved to West Laurel Hill, Philadelphia where it is guarded by a winged Sphinx at each corner of the roof. Thomas Drake Martinez Cardeza and his mother Mrs. Charlotte Drake Martinez Cardeza were surviving passengers of the Titanic shipwreck in 1912. Charlotte was a rich philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the poor.

female winged_Drake Mausoleum
Source: https://www.mausoleums.com/portfolio/drake-mausoleum/

Tolling of the Bell

 If you go looking for a bell in the cemetery the easiest discovery will be a gravestone engraved with the surname Bell. However, if you are looking for the symbol of a bell unrelated to the surname it will be a long search. A bell is one of the rarest symbols found on headstones and quite simply represents mourning.

Thomas Toberts  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Dead Bell in the Middle Ages was believed to frighten away evil spirits.

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_bell

When someone died the bell ringer passed through the streets of villages, towns or cities ringing the bell slowly and repeatedly while announcing the name of the recently deceased person and details of the funeral. The solemn ringing of the bell led mourners from the home of the deceased to the church where the funeral was held.

In 16th century Britain land for burial was sparse. Coffins were dug up and bones taken to the bone-house so that the grave could be reused. Upon opening the coffins, it was noticed that several had scratch marks on the inside. The realization that people were being buried whilst still alive led to the practice of tying a string on the wrist of the corpse which was attached to a bell above ground while a sentry sat in the cemetery overnight.

A little grave humour:
Harold, the Oakdale gravedigger, upon hearing a bell, went to go see if it was children pretending to be spirits. Sometimes it was also the wind. This time it wasn’t either. A voice from below begged, pleaded to be unburied.
“You Sarah O’Bannon?”
Yes! the voice assured.
“You were born on September 17, 1827?”
“Yes!”
“The gravestone here says you died on February 19?”
“No I’m alive, it was a mistake! Dig me up, set me free!”
“Sorry about this, ma’am,” Harold said, stepping on the bell to silence it and plugging up the copper tube with dirt. “But this is August. Whatever you is down there, you ain’t alive no more, and you ain’t comin’ up.”

The Bell of Hope was a gift from London’s St. Mary-le-Bow, which is the sister church to St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan. Installed in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel in September 2002, the Bell of Hope is rung at a ceremony every year on September 11th. It has also been rung after the bombings in Madrid, 2004; London, 2005; Mumbai, 2008; Moscow, 2010; and the Boston Marathon, 2013; and for the shootings at Virginia Tech, 2007 and in Norway, 2011.

1stpauls_hopebell
Source: https://walkaboutny.com/2016/09/11/the-bell-of-hope-at-st-pauls-chapel/

The bell is inscribed:
“To the Greater Glory of God
And in Recognition of
The Enduring Links Between
The City of London
And
The City of New York”
“Forged in adversity—11.September.2001”

The La Cambe German Cemetery in Normandy, France where there are 21,222 burials with 207 belonging to unknown soldiers. A peace garden with 1,200 maple-trees is adjacent to the cemetery.

dday center
La Cambe German War Cemetery, Normandy, France. Source: http://www.dday.center/cemetery_de_lacambe.html

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

A Crypt In The Basement

137 tombstones representing a small portion of the original graveyard on the Green have been preserved in the basement of the Center Church-on-the-Green in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

When the church was built over part of the town’s burial ground in 1813, the foundations included a crypt built to protect the gravestones which were left intact.

The graves include headstones of Reverend James Pierpont, one of the founders of Yale; Benedict Arnold’s first wife and President Rutherford Hayes’ family.

atlas
Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crypt-at-center-church-on-the-green

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stones
Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/underground-ct/
tombs
Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/underground-ct/
alling
Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crypt-at-center-church-on-the-green

In Memory of Mr Nathan Alling who died Octobr 24th, 1774, in his 79th year Mrs Hannah Alling his wife died Octobr 26th 1771 in her 68th year

rosewell
Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/underground-ct/

Here lyeth the Body of Mrs Lydia Rosewell Relict of Mr Richard Rosewell who dyed December ye 9th 1731 in ye 66th year of her age
Note: Relict means widow. Ye is a form of the word, ‘the’

water seepage
Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crypt-at-center-church-on-the-green

In memory of Mrs Elizabeth Woodward Daughter of John Woodward Esqr who departed this (water damage has eroded inscription) Aged 55 years

To prevent further destruction of the stones from water seepage through the concrete floor, the concrete was removed and a brick floor laid which allows moisture to escape between the bricks.

Tours of the church and crypt are available from April – October: Saturdays 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.