A Unique Carved c.1860 Sandstone Gravestone in the Form of a Latin Cross


Origin: English
Period: Mid Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Northwest England
Date: c.1850-70
Height: 39 inches
Width 19.75 inches
Depth: 5 inches
Weight: 72 KGS

The large tombstone or headstone carved in sandstone in the shape of a crux ordinaria (Latin cross) with central shaped recess lozenge showing a monogram for ‘SH’ and further carved lettering above for R.I.P. (rest in peace), survives from the middle of the nineteenth century.

In one piece, the carving shows commensurate weathering with age through direct exposure of the elements. There is chipping to two of the arms, as pictured, and wear to several edges. The stone benefits from being freestanding so does not need support for display, though of course it would be far safer to do so.

In the 19th century, headstone styles became very diverse, ranging from plain to highly decorated, and often using crosses on a base, like this one, or other shapes differing from the traditional slab. The Latin, Roman or Christian Cross as represented here is the most common symbol of Christianity, intended to represent the death of Jesus when he was crucified on the True Cross and his resurrection in the New Testament.

Stones such as this are, unsurprisingly, rarely offered for sale and this example has a beautiful and haunting decorative gothic quality that is testament to the stonemason who bore it.