Monday, May 7, 2012

Carved in Stone...

My daughters and I were planning to take lots of photos Saturday ~ (we were in Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries in Saint Louis), but it was just too meltingly HOT...we all felt wilted before we could even begin...
Here are a few photos I did manage to take despite my rapidly fogging lens...
(with the exception of the photo in the bottom right and top middle left ~ she is actually my favorite; taken in Soldier's Rest Cemetery, Vicksburg, Mississippi)...

I know to some it may be strange, but I absolutely adore memorial statuary; looking at it, touching it ~ (the decades, or a century or more, of weathering, lichens and moss...human touch)...

The Victorians had death down to an art, I believe.

 On the cusp of so much happening in the many new inventions, their world was changing...yet there was still so much that they had no control over.

Death still came to their families, to old folks and babies, as well. So, if they had the means, they had their loved ones immortalized by the best me, many of the memorials of that time are as intricate and well-crafted as sculptures by the Old Masters...

I don't understand why this beautiful statuary fell out of favor, really. Maybe during the Depression, most were lucky to have any sort of memorial or marker...

Then, mid-twentieth century, I think ~ death became a taboo subject.

Many of the illnesses that had befallen children earlier had become a thing of the past, with new vaccines...

People were living much longer...

Cemeteries became "gardens" of artificial flowers in handy little bronze vases that could be folded down for ease of maintence. Cemeteries were now Memorial Parks...
Death had become sanitized.

Personally, I prefer the Victorians' way.

(I'm working on a second blog that is mostly about memorial statuary, with a little genealogy thrown in for good measure...)

Another week begins, another opportunity to accomplish great things!
(As for me, I just hope to complete a couple of watercolors!)

Happy Monday!

♥ ♥ ♥

(I've linked this to Little Red House's Mosaic Mondays); check it out!


  1. Wonderful images and a fascinating post too! xx

  2. Lovely photographs - I agree that cemetery sculpture is very interesting.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  3. Hi Anne: Your photos are beautiful as are the subjects. There is something that speaks to me in old cemeteries that have fallen into disrepair. The tombstones have crumbled and how some of the graves are surrounded by beautiful iron fencing. So sad that those people were well loved at one time and it has to come to this. There is one such place in our town and I might take some pictures there. Hadn't thought of it until now..Happy Monday..Judy

  4. interesting post and photos. Thanks for sharing. PS Funny to read you are melting in the heat and we are almost freezing in Australia, at least where I live.

  5. Me too love to take photos in cementeries! A very lovely post with a very special mosaic.

  6. I love old cemeteries too .. we were in London a couple of years ago and across from our Hotel was a Victorian cemetery, I think it was called Bunfields, Oliver Cromwell's sons were buried there, John Bunyan, William Blake and Daniel Defoe. It was in the middle of a busy city, but was so peaceful, and there were squirrels and rabbits running about. Very interesting ... have a lovely Monday, Claire xxx

  7. I love this post. Lovely images. There is a lovely grave I drive by on my way to Janae's--I think I may have to stop and take a picture of it. I have admired it for years and have never stopped to see who is buried there. I have a lot of interest in the parnormal and I think death is not such an awful thing like some people feel. Have you ever watched "I survived..beyond and back"? The people in that show always say they look forward to their death, now that they aren't afraid anymore. Of course, we all hate to lose someone too soon. Great post.

  8. I find old cemeteries fascinating too. If you are ever in London take some time, if you can, to visit 'Highgate Cemetery'. (It's in all the tourist guides.) It is an amazing place; rambling, overgrown, tumbledown tombs, but also some extraordinary Victorian memorials. A section devoted to Egyptian style memorials too - which has to be seen to be believed.

  9. I too find it fascinating looking around cemeteries. I was drawn to the one in our village when we first moved here because on one of the graves a cherub is always to be found wearing a cape and hat! I have no idea why.

  10. Hi,

    Have found this particular post of yours very interesting and never really thought about Cemetery art much before. I do know though there is a great deal of symbolism involved and some people are quite experts at this. Unfortunately here in Spain unless its a famous cemetery like in Madrid or Barcelona niches are used more than anything but there is the occasional statue.
    Interesting post!

    at Crafty in the Med

  11. Anne as always your post is not only lovely but informative as well. Hubby and I often times find ourselves stopping at old cemeteries when we are out and about. Thank you for sharing - God Bless Pixie

  12. Beautiful photography. I have found cemetaries to be the source of some beautiful art work.

  13. I'm with you..The Victorian era had class and style..Love movies made about that period...Maybe
    the statuary went out of favor because of cost and lack of artists.

  14. Memorial statuary makes such a statement. I've enjoyed your pictures. Have a great Monday!

  15. What I wonder when I see them is the history of the person who carved it - like what did they see in the person they carved it for - and about the person himself. sandie

  16. What a great post - with beautiful images to accompany thoughtful words. It's so true that the Victorians realized that death was part of life, and that we in our "modern" thinking have chosen to deny it, ignore it, pretend it isn't happening.
    I'm always so sad to hear of incidents when people pass and there is no service or memorial to mark the occasion. It's important to acknowledge life. I think memorial statuary does that.

  17. Good morning Anne...
    Lovely post.
    I guess I've never thought much about statues in cemetaries before now.. Hmmm. I'm going to have to pay more attention.

    Around here, there are some cemetaries that have enforced codes that do not allow for any marker to stand up out of the grass.
    It is easier for them to mow and maintain the cemetary if they don't have to trim around each marker. Shameful .. I know!

    Fortunatly for us... our cemetary still allows up-right markers.

    I reall don't want anyone driving a lawn mower over my grave.

  18. Anne: I once shocked some folks in a church meeting about grief by saying much the same thing as you have here: "The Victorians had death down to an art, I believe."
    They all looked at me like I was from Mars and had landed in some kind of weird space ship on the church lawn LOL. YOu are so right. We fear the implications of death, including grieving---and I believe the memorialization of those we've lost is an honoring of their loss and passing, not mere maudlin trifling with emotions.Those statues TELL us something, don't they? They say, "Someone's life and loss mattered."
    Loved this article. Can't wait to view your other blog!
    Have a wonderful week, my dear!

  19. I love cemeteries too. Beautiful post.

  20. Anne,
    Thanks for your visit! I am going to be YOUR newest follower.
    Oh, my goodness, you are talented. That little Fairie house and garden is wonderful, beautiful.
    Your cats are terrific, as all cats are, IMHO. I do the same things with their names - they kind of evolve. Few go by their "official" name!
    I'm going to look at some more of your posts now....

  21. I meant to add, I do like memorial statuary too.
    And I read about your 9 muses...I am glad you have Leo, Cyrus and Woo to help fill the empty spot. The others can't be replaced, but the new ones are such a comfort and honor the love you shared with the others. Cats are truly a passion of mine as a cat lover and vet.

  22. I totally agree with you! I love memorial statuary. I have always wanted to do a series of b&w photos. Your photos are lovely. It is sad that cemeteries are statue free and for alot of them the head stones are those flat ground level jobs. I guess it makes it easier to mow the grass that way but still... It makes it look no different that any expanse of grass. Its sort of a way to deny that which happens to all of us. I can't wait to see your new blog!
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  23. Cemetery markers can be quite beautiful. Valerie

  24. Nice to find another person who likes cemetaries.
    Ours is set out like a wild life park and we just love to go there. It's peaceful and full of wild life.


  25. Love these cemetary photos. Thanks for sharing

  26. Love these cemetary photos. Thanks for sharing

  27. Oh gosh I dearly love graveyards packed full of the old statues. Those you captured are some beauties. Now a days I guess it is the cost that keeps folks from using them. Great photos. Kathy

  28. I walked through one of the old Catholic cemetaries in Denver last year, when I was home, camera in hand, and took similar shots...all by myself - it was a very peaceful afternoon. These are stunning!


I love your thoughts and comments, and I read each and every one! Sometimes life gets in the way, though, and it takes me a while to respond...Thank you for understanding! ♥...Time is precious, and the time you've taken here is truly appreciated!