Lily of the Valley

Mount Olivet, Nashville, Tennessee

The lily of the valley is much like other lilies in funerary art and viewed as a symbol of innocence and purity.  Because of the lily of the valley’s symbolic meanings of innocence and purity it is likely the reason the motif adorns the grave of six-year old Mary J. Nettie Henderson who is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery at Nashville, Tennessee.

Lichens eat away at the soft white marble gravestone, but the lily of the valley is still clearly visable.  Like so many floral symbols found in our cemeteries, they had multiple meanings to the Victorians.  The lily of the valley also symbolized happiness and humility.


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