The Sphinx

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

BENEATH THIS STONE

ARE INTERRED THE REMAINS

MATT’W LAWLER Esq.

OF PHILADELPHIA

BORN JANUARY 1ST 1755

DIED JULY 14TH 1831

 

MRS ANN LAWLER

HIS CONSORT

BORN JUNE 5TH 1761

DIED MARCH 25TH 1835

THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED TO THEIR MEMORY

BY THEIR SON DAVIS B. LAWLER IN JUNE 1850

When the enigmatic blue onyx-colored sphinx was installed at the Spring Grove Cemetery at Cincinnati in 1850, it caused a great stir.  The “pagan” iconography of the Egyptian sphinx ruffled the Christian sensibilities of the Victorians; yet, there were those who praised the monument as a break in the monotony of the usual gravestone shapes of neoclassical columns, mourning figures, flowered-adorned markers, obelisks, and Gothic pinnacles.

In the Egyptian tradition the benevolent mythological creature has the head of a man grafted to the body of a lion.  In this example, a couchant sphinx rests atop the Lawler family monument.

The Lawler sphinx was an inspiration to the related Peaslee Family of Louisville, Kentucky.  They were so taken with the monument in the Spring Grove Cemetery that they commissioned a look-alike sphinx for the Cave Hill Cemetery at Louisville.

ELLA HARPER HARBESON PEASLEE

JANUARY 30, 1903 

ELEANORA HARBESON PEASLEE

MARCH 5, 1904 

CHARLES ROWLAND PEASLEE

NOVEMBER 24, 1905

 

Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

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