The Angel in the Boat

[?] MAY 7TH 1880 —  OBIT DECEMBER 1St 1906

A PERFECT AND UPRIGHT MAN

TO THE GLORY OF GOD

IN LOVING MEMORY OF

BERT HOOF

LATE VALUED AND ESTEEMED OFFICER OF DALGETY & COY

VICE CAPTAIN MERCANTILE R CLUB

ACCIDENTLY [sic] DROWNED IN RIVER YARRA

THIS STONE IS ERECTED

AS TOKEN OF UNDYING AFFECTION

BY HIS AUNT FLORENCE PICKERING

ALSO IN LOVING MEMORY OF

ANN RELICT OF JAMES HOOF OBIT 1891

DARLING GRANDMA

According to the Melbourne General Cemetery website, the sprawling graveyard covers 43 hectares (106 acres), and is one of the most historic and important cemeteries in Australia.  Melbourne General Cemetery was established in 1852 and opened in 1853, the first modern cemetery in Victoria, “designed like a large public park with wide wavy paths, separate religious areas, gate lodges, rotundas, chapels, evergreen trees and shrubs.”

Not far from the main gate on College Crescent, to the right on First Avenue, is a gravestone dedicated to Bert Hoof.  The epitaph does not tell the circumstances of his accidental drowning on the Yarra River, but on this gravestone Bert Hoof is depicted as an angel holding up the mast of the tiny boat.

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Guy Boyd, the Mark and Marker of an Artist

IN GOD’S CARE

GUY MARTIN A’BECKETT

BOYD

12. 6. 1923 — 26. 4. 1988

LOVED HUSBAND OF PHYLLIS

DEVOTED FATHER OF SEVEN CHILDREN

DEDICATED FAMILY MAN

SCULPTOR – POTTER – CONSERVATIONIST

 

IN GOD’S CARE

PHYLLIS EMMA BOYD

6. 3. 1926 — 12. 10. 2001

LOVED WIFE OF GUY

DEVOTED MOTHER

GRANDMOTHER, GREAT GRANDMOTHER

ADVOCATE FOR THE HOUSEWIFE–MOTHER

The Brighton General Cemetery in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, was designed as a garden cemetery.  Twenty-nine acres of land was set aside in 1853 for the purposes of being a burial ground.  It was designed with broad avenues and bricked alleys that snake through the manicured lawns.  Along the avenues between the curbing and where the grave ledgers shelter the dead is a strip of grass referred to as a lawn.  In the North end of the cemetery along the avenue in that grassy area is a small polished gray granite marker that lies flat with the ground.  The marker has two small plaques and one bronze bas-relief sculpture.

The bas-relief is a sculpture of the pieta featuring the Virgin Mary holding the limp dead body of her son, Jesus Christ. In this sculpture Mary is lifting His body down from the Cross. Many of the pieta sculptures show Jesus lying on Mary’s lap, but this dramatic version depicts the moment Jesus was brought down, His suffering and sacrifice over.  The sculpture is highly-textured.  If it were a painting, one would say that the paint was laid on thick as to make the brush strokes visible in a technique known as impasto.

Works of art, usually sculptures, depicting this subject first began to appear in Germany in the 1300s and are referred to as “vesperbild” in German.  Images of Mary and the dead body of Jesus began to appear in Italy in the 1400s.  The most famous of these sculptures is Michelangelo’s pieta which he sculpted for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, carved when he was only 24 years old.  Pieta is Italian for “pity.”

The polished granite “grass marker” marks the graves of Guy and Phyllis Boyd.   Guy Boyd was a noted sculptor and potter born into the famous Boyd family of artists and artisans.  His father, William Merric Boyd, was a well-known potter.  His mother, Doris Lucy Eleanor Bloomfield, was a painter.  The artistic dynasty of the Boyd’s began with his grandparents who were also painters along with a host of other relatives who were novelists, architects, sculptors, potters, and painters.  Boyd enrolled and studied sculpture at the East Sydney Technical College in 1945.  The following year he founded a commercial pottery company with commercial success.  During the next twenty years he ran a successful pottery business but was trying his hand at sculpture during that time, as well.  In 1964, after selling his pottery company, Boyd focused full time on his sculptural work becoming noted for his figurative art and his ability to “capture the fluidity and sensuality of the female form.”

After a stint of studying abroad in Europe and Asia, Boyd moved his family to Canada where he gained international fame selling his artwork in galleries of Toronto, Chicago, and New York. However, even with his much touted success overseas, Boyd decided to move his family back to Australia, actually returning to purchase and restore his grandfather’s house on Edward Street, in the beach community of Sandringham, a suburb of Melbourne.  Boyd’s work had been exhibited to much acclaim in Australian cities, such as, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, and major overseas cities of London, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, and New York. His work is represented throughout Australia including in the National Gallery of Australia and in the State galleries of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

And a sculpture, titled the “Sandringham Swimmer” stands in the Indigenous Resource Garden, a small park not far from his last home in Sandringham and is a testament to his talent for capturing the sensual form of the female body.

The Boyd family artistic dynasty continues to this day.  The bas-relief panel below the statue of the swimmer was designed by Guy Boyd but carried out by his daughter, Lenore, who is also an accomplished artist.

The Plaque on the base for the statue:

Australia

1788-1988

Commemoration of the

History and Heritage of Sandringham

Sandringham Swimmer – A sculpture by the late Guy Boyd who lived in Sandringham

for many years.

Sculpture Panel – A sculpture relief depicting important elements of the municipality. Concept

Developed by the late Guy Boyd and sculpted by his daughter Lenore Boyd.

Native Gardens – Many of the Australian native plants in the surrounding gardens were used by the

original aboriginal inhabitants for food and medicinal purposes.

An Australian Bicentennial project carried out with

financial assistance from Federal and State Governments

together with the City of Sandringham.

Unveiled by the Mayor of Sandringham, Cr. Michael Hanlin,

on Sunday 30th October, 1988.

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The Flight of the Soul with an Angel

ERNESTINE

WIFE OF HENRY O’HARA

DIED 14TH OCTR. 1883;

AGED 26 YEARS

LAWRENCE

O’HARA

BORN 7TH OCTR.;

DIED 8TH OCTR. 1883.

 

ISABELLA

WIFE OF

HENRY O’HARA

DIED JUNE 26TH 1887

AGED 31 YEARS.

“I AM THE RESURRECTION-

AND THE LIFE”

On top of a towering dark and white marble gravestone in the Brighton General Cemetery, in Brighton, Australia, a suburb of Melbourne, is a winged angel with her arm raised and her finger pointing toward the Heavens.

Without a closer look, one might miss that the angel holds a chubby little babe cuddled up in her other arm.  The angel here is depicted carrying the baby boy which represents the flight of infant boy’s soul to Heaven.

On the side of the gravestone the inscription tells the passerby that one-day old Lawrence O’Hara died on October 8th, 1883.  Six days later, his mother, Ernestine O’Hara, died at the young age of 26 years old.    The sad and poignant story—one that was all too common in the 1800s—speaks to the danger of becoming a mother.  Women risked their lives in childbirth and some, as evidenced by this gravestone, didn’t live through the danger.

Four years later, Henry O’Hara lost his second wife, Isabella.  Isabella was only 31 years old, but the gravestone does not give any clues as to what might have been the cause of her death.

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The Boy with No Name

In the far and forgotten corner of the Cheltenham Memorial Park (Cemetery), Cheltenham, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, there is a highly polished gray granite ledger with no inscription.  The gravestone has no markings and no name.  Atop the tomb is a bronze statue of a young boy holding a fish as big as he is, standing roughly 4 to 4 and a half feet tall.  The meaning of the sculpture is as much a mystery as who might be buried underneath.

But the artist who created the bronze is not a mystery.  A small signature carved into the base in the back of the sculpture reveals that it was created in 50s by the famed sculptor, Andor Mészáros.  Mészáros gained notoriety by creating the art and design for medals, some were somewhat controversial, but his Stations of the Cross series commissioned for the Canterbury Cathedral was wildly acclaimed.

Mészáros was born September 1, in 1900, in Budapest, Hungary.  When he was slightly less than 20 years old, Mészáros moved to Vienna, then to Paris to study art.  He studied with art greats Matisse and Modigliani.  By the time he returned to Hungary, Mészáros was an accomplished artist in his own right.  He was influenced upon his return by medalist Ede Telcs. In 1939, in anticipation of the impending war, Mészáros, his wife Elizabeth, and their son, moved to Australia. Though commissions were at first hard to come by, he eventually began taking on work and gained fame.

His works can be found throughout Australia and include three carved stone figures for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in Sydney, the sculpture titled ‘Maternity’ (1944), ‘The Surgeon’ (1945) and ‘King George V’ (1946).   Among his larger commissioned works were ‘The Resurrection’, a sandstone carving forming the reredos in the chapel of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) (1954), the hanging rood in the transept of the Cathedral Church of St Peter, Adelaide (1955), and ‘Christ Accepts His Cross’, a bronze figure in All Saints Church, Brisbane (1962). Mészáros’s bas-reliefs in stone and bronze adorn many buildings, among them the Shrine of Remembrance, in Brisbane, the Supreme Court, in Darwin, and Sydney’s international air-terminal with his memorial to Charles Ulm.   His work can be found in many places round the world including Budapest, Stockholm, Baghdad and Breslau, as well as, art galleries in South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria.

However, Mészáros gained his greatest fame for the designs he created for over 1000 different medals, including one of his most famous—the medal he created for the 1956 Olympic Games.  He also won a design contest for the Australian Dollar coin by the Australian Coin Review Magazine.  His winning design portrayed a flying swan which mistakenly became known as the Goose Dollar and immediately became a collector piece.  Mészáros died in May 1, 1972.

The mystery of the artist was solved but not the mystery behind the meaning of the boy with no name.

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The Day’s Eye

PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF

OUR DEAR MOTHER

CONCETTA PAINO

NATIVE OF LIPARI, ITALY

DIED 1ST JAN. 1928,

AGED 60 YEARS

A COLONIST OF 40 YEARS

MY DEAR HUSBAND

ANGELO PAINO

NATIVE OF LIPARI, ITALY

DIED 13TH NOV. 1936

AGED 62 YEARS

A COLONIST OF 40 YEARS

This magnificent angel in the Cheltenham Memorial Park in Cheltenham, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, is depicted with her head bowed downward—a sign of grief and despair.  The angel looks almost as if she collapsed on the top of the tomb, her legs folded underneath her limp body.  One single stain on the face of the white marble sculpture looks like a tear stain which gives her a heightened sense of loss. She loosely clutches a spray of daisies the grip of her fingers beginning to give way.

The word “daisy” is derived from an Old English word meaning “Day’s Eye.”  The religious symbolism of the daisy represents the innocence of the child and the purity of thought.  The secular meanings include harmony because the flower is like a composite of two flowers in one.  This could be related to the tomb’s inhabitants, Mr. and Mrs. Paino, and a represent a carved demonstration of their love for each other.  The daisy can also represent new beginnings.  Those who are Christians see death not as an ending but the transition from the Earthly Realm to the Heavenly one.  The last and ultimate new beginning.

The sculpture is protected by a canopy with a stained glass ceiling.  The stained glass features the dove and the cross—both motifs commonly found in Christian cemeteries.  The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity while the dove represents the Holy Spirit descending upon the Earth.

The main element of the tomb, of course, is the angel at the center.  When we see a winged figure in a cemetery, we instantly recognize it as an angel–a messenger of God.  However, Christian art did not depict angels with wings until the fourth century.  Before then, angels were represented in several different forms–sometimes in human form, but also represented as a dove, or even just as a hand reaching down to Earth from the Heavens. Beginning with the reign of Constantine in the 4th Century, angels began being depicted with wings, as we portray them today.  The wings of this angel curl underneath her right arm and over her left leg.  She is dressed in classical robes but the band around her hair has a 1920s style to it.

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Mourning Figure

I

MORAN

Mary to her Savior’s tomb

Hasted at the early dawn

Spice she brought and rich perfume.

KATHERINE A.         LINUS JAMES J.

The Design Hints for Memorial Craftsmen was an industry publication for stone cutters and monuments salespeople and professionals.  The magazine published articles about how to carve lettering, where the best materials come from, the meaning of certain symbols, how to build mausoleums, and the history behind various monument types, among other things.  In the article, “Memorial Types – The Sculptured Type,” by Captain John K. Shawvan, from April 1931, pp. 8-9, the writer gave a synopsis of where the first sculptural monuments were created, “Fascinating in its quickly apparent and material proof of the greatest skill of the hands of man, the sculptured memorial will always symbolize the power of man to express his deepest emotions without recourse to the spoken or written word.  Originating in Egypt, developed to its highest degree of perfection by the Greeks and handed down through the Romans, the art of Sculpture is one of our greatest inheritances of civilization.”

In the example portrayed in the two page article and the example from the Calvary Cemetery in Decatur, Illinois, a mourning figure dressed in classical clothing is depicted with her head leaning against one hand while the other hand reaches toward one of three symbols on the gravestone—a palm frond.  The other two symbols on the stone are a lyre and a sprig of roses.

The palm frond is an ancient symbol of victory, dating back to Roman times when victors were presented with palm fronds. The palm fronds were also laid in the path of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem. So, for many Christians, the palm represents righteousness, resurrection, and martyrdom, symbolizing the spiritual victory over death associated with the Easter story.

The lyre is traditionally seen as a symbol of Apollo, the Greek god of music. In Christian symbolism it can represent harmony and Heavenly accord and song in praise of the Lord.  In funerary art, however, the lyre can also represent the end of life.

Lastly, romantics have waxed poetic about the rose and the connection to love for centuries which has made the rose an undeniable symbol of love.  The sprig of roses are fully-blossomed and could be a symbol of this married couple’s love for each other.  The rose also has a religious meaning, differing by color.  The white rose symbolizes purity while the red rose represents martyrdom and the messianic hope that Christ will return.

I

The magazine pages from the article, “Memorial Types – The Sculptured Type,” by Captain John K. Shawvan, from “Design Hints for Memorial Craftsmen,” April 1931, pp. 8-9,
were provided by Peggy Perazzo who shares her vast collection of gravestone catalogs and resources at:

*  “Stone Quarries and Beyond Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StoneQuarriesAndBeyond/

*  Stone Quarries and Beyond Continues” (new web site – continuation of “Stone Quarries and Beyond”)

http://quarriesandbeyondcontinues.com/

The Quarries and Beyond Website and Facebook page were created by Peggy B. and Patrick Perazzo. The collection focuses on historic stone quarries, stone workers and companies, and related subjects such as geology. Whenever possible links of finished products are provided on the Website. There is a “Quarry Articles” section on the Website that presents articles, booklets, and links from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including the 1856 “The Marble-Workers’ Manual.” The “Cemetery Stones and Monuments” section provides references and resources, including many old monument magazines, catalogs, price lists, and a photographic tour “From Quarry to Cemetery Monuments.”

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Victorian Weepers

 

Calvary Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

In David Robinson’s book, Saving Graces, mourning figures from some of the most famous cemeteries in Europe depict sculptures of beautiful, young, and voluptuous women often wearing revealing clothing as they mourn the dead. Often these sepulchral figures are referred to as weepers, and are intended to represent mourning and sorrow.  Since ancient times, women have been the ones in our families and in our society who showed grief and shed tears over those lost to death. Like the women in ancient times, these sculptures are depicted as standing over the graves in sorrow.

Robinson identified four categories of ”Saving Graces”–first, women completely overcome by grief, often portrayed as having collapsed and fallen limp on the grave. Second are the women who are portrayed reaching up to Heaven as if to try to call their recently lost loved one back to Earth.  Third, are the women who are immobile and grief stricken, often holding their head in their hands distraught with loss.  Lastly, he describes the last category of “Saving Graces” as the mourning figure who is “resigned with the loss and accepting of death.”

Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In the example from the from the “Granite Marble and Bronze,” September 1921, page 20, a company in Milford, Massachusetts the advertisement depicts a “weeper” with her head looking down in reflection and sorrow, holding an Easter lily sprig in one hand and the bloom of the flower in the other—as if she is going to gently lay it on the grave.  However, unlike her European counterparts, the Victorian weeper was usually not voluptuous but often portrayed as androgynous and dressed modestly in a diaphanous gown loosely fitted and flowing beyond her feet.

This mourning figure is a common sight in Victorian cemeteries and seems to be a combination of the last two categories that Robinson mentions, head in her hands stricken with grief but resigned.  The act of placing the flower is also a recurring funerary motif which is designed to remind the viewer that life is short. The Victorian funerary symbolism associated with flowers used the Easter lily to represent the resurrection.

Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

According to, Victorian Cemetery Art by Edmund V. Gillon Jr., published by Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1972, “The large amounts of space in the Victorian cemetery were to revolutionize cemetery art, and permit the use of sculpture in a way that the crowded churchyard had never allowed.”  Now there was room in the garden cemeteries of the nineteenth century for lavish monuments. Gillon goes on to write, “Sepulchral sculpture, with its prone effigies and kneeling weepers, had flowered in the past, but only for the rich and powerful.”

Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The advertisement page from the “Product of a Milford Granite Plant,” from “Granite Marble and Bronze,” September 1921, pp. 20, of Milford, Massachusetts was provided by Peggy Perazzo who shares her vast collection of gravestone catalogs and resources at:

*  “Stone Quarries and Beyond Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StoneQuarriesAndBeyond/

*  Stone Quarries and Beyond Continues” (new web site – continuation of “Stone Quarries and Beyond”)

http://quarriesandbeyondcontinues.com/

The Quarries and Beyond Website and Facebook page were created by Peggy B. and Patrick Perazzo. The collection focuses on historic stone quarries, stone workers and companies, and related subjects such as geology. Whenever possible links of finished products are provided on the Website. There is a “Quarry Articles” section on the Website that presents articles, booklets, and links from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including the 1856 “The Marble-Workers’ Manual.” The “Cemetery Stones and Monuments” section provides references and resources, including many old monument magazines, catalogs, price lists, and a photographic tour “From Quarry to Cemetery Monuments.”

Posted in Saving Graces, Symbolism | 1 Comment