Tombstones and Gravestones…Take 5…Bronze

Bronze, which is distinguished from other metals by its brown coloring when new, and a green patina after it has aged, is another metal that is commonly found in cemeteries, though limited because of its great expense. 

Because bronze is an expensive material it is often in small pieces of the metal that adorn gravestones such as medallions that include bas-relief sculptures.

Mausoleum doors are usually constructed of bronze and come in hundreds of different designs.

Metal funerary sculpture is also often cast bronze.

Lastly, grass markers, or those that are level with the ground, are often bronze, too.  These are often issued by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for the men and women who served in our Armed Forces.  These can also be purchased for use for those outside the military.  Memorial Parks, those that require “grass markers” often have hundreds of these marking graves.

Much of the bronze work including sculptures was cast by foundries, such as the JNO Williams Foundry in New York City.  The foundry was established in 1875 by John Williams who had been an employee of Tiffany & Company who left to start his own enterprise.  The foundry worked with some of the most influential and well-known sculptors of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, such as, Louis Amateis, Karl Bitter, Gutzon Borglum, Pompeo Coppini, Daniel Chester French, Harriet Frishmuth Carl Augustus Heber, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Charles Keck, Edward Kemeys, Samuel Kilpatrick, Augustus Lukeman, Frederick MacMonnies, R. Tait McKenzie, Percival J. Morris, Allen George Newman, Charles Niehaus, Roalnd Hinton Perry, J. Massey Rhind, Andrew O’Connor, Alexander Phimister Proctor, Augustus Saint Gaudens, Anton Schaaf, Francois Tonetti, Gaetan Trentanove, J. Q. A. Ward, Olin Levi Warner, Albert Weinert, and George Julian Zolnay.

The foundry manufactured architectural pieces, such as bronze doors, for the Boston Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the United States Capitol building, as well as, sculptural pieces, such as, the tigers in front of Nassau Hall at Princeton University.

NOTE: The JNO. Williams advertisements were all from an industry publication, The Monumental News, and were researched and provided by Peggy Perazzo who shares her vast collection of gravestone catalogs and resources at her Website: http://quarriesandbeyond.org/cemeteries_and_monumental_art/cemetery_stones.html.

The Quarries and Beyond Website was created by Peggy B. and Patrick Perazzo. It 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 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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2 Responses to Tombstones and Gravestones…Take 5…Bronze

  1. Mary R Gilbert says:

    What is the location of the 3rd photo?

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