Mourning Jewellery: The Victoria & Albert, Pitt Rivers and Pannett Art Gallery

Popularised in the Eighteenth century the giving of commemorative jewellery reached it’s zenith in the 19th Century. The decoration of mourning rings evolved from the language of funerary monuments and often depicted urns, willow trees, broken columns or a weeping woman. If the deceased was a married person the ring would be enamelled in black … Read more

In Arcadia – Arnos Vale Cemetery, Day Five

Arnos Vale Cemetery is spectacular. Set over 45 acres with architecturally beautiful lodges and chapels, it also boasts some of the finest funerary monuments I have seen on this trip so far. The cemetery opened in 1839 and is situated beautifully within a picturesque hilly landscape. The well established trees and shrubs softening the architecture … Read more

Serendipity – a journey and a destination

Travel is all about connections, changing trains to other places,  the like-minded people we meet on the way or sometimes they are small mental leaps afforded by the act of travel, that period of time were there is nothing to do but think. Today I travelled from Oxford to Bristol for the last section of … Read more

Death and Burial at the Pitt Rivers Museum Day Four

The West Kennet Long Barrow is an impressive burial chamber, and one of the many ancient  sites that comprise the prehistoric complex of Avebury in Wiltshire. During the archaeological excavations of The West Kennet Long Barrow in 1859 and then again in 1955-6 by Thurman and Piggot respectively, the remains of around fifty inhumations were … Read more

William Mulready R.A

Of  all the monuments I saw at Kensal Green Cemetery, the decoration of one in particular appealed to the art historian in me, it was showy, ostentatious and very Victorian. Carved at each corner the tools of the mans trade, palettes, brushes, palette knives, rolled canvas and mahl sticks all screamed look at me I’m … Read more

Kensal Green Cemetery – Day Two

When thy turuf is thy tour and thy put is thy bour Among the many luminaries buried at Kensal Green cemetery lies one less well known to the public but whose influence upon the cemetery design is unequivocal. John Claudius Loudon inspired by the economic model of Pere Lachaise in Paris developed an aesthetic that … Read more

Highgate Cemetery-Day One

Memento, homo, quad cinis es , et in cenerem reverentis (Remember, o man, that you are ashes, and into ashes you will return) Today was the first day of my week long adventure exploring the cemetery and mourning aesthetic that flourished during the Victorian period.  Having been fortunate enough at the beginning of summer to … Read more