The Lamb and the Little Boy

Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

Precious Boy

JOHN T.

SON OF

J.H. & K. L. ALDERSON

1894-1897.

The gravestone of three-year old John Alderson depicts a boy in a dressing gown with his chubby little hand gently touching the head of a small lamb.  The lamb looks up and leans against the child as the boy wistfully looks down as he fidgets with his gown.  There is a sadness to the boy’s countenance, almost as if he is regretting the future lost by his early death.

Life-size representations of children as a funeral motif were common in the Victorian era.  The lamb, common Victorian funerary iconography, is the symbol of the Lord, the Good Shepherd.  The lamb also represents innocence, likely the reason why this motif most often adorns the tombstones of infants and young children, as in this case.  On gravestones where the lamb is a bas-relief it is most often depicted lying down, often asleep and sometimes with a cross behind the lamb.

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