A Finely Carved 19thC White Marble Graveyard Monument of An Angel c.1870

Origin: English
Period: Mid/Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870
Height: 26”
Width: 10” (at base)
Depth: 10” (at base)
Weight: 42 KGS

The beautifully carved solid white marble mourning monument, depicting a standing angel, her wings open, her hands clasped and face bowed in sorrow, being pensive and serene, with flowing wavy hair and fine drapery, standing upon a rocky outcrop to a square plinth base and surviving from Victorian period England.

The condition is pleasing with a good even spread of weathering commensurate with exposure to the elements giving her an evocative all-round character and colour, with the reverse showing more lichen than the front suggesting the front half may have been covered partly from above. There are no losses or cracks and there is a boring hole to the underside where she would have been attached to the remaining part of the memorial. Please refer to the photographs for a full visual reference.

The quality to the carving here is very high with the drapery in particular with a superb fluidity. It’s not that often at all that one sees period monuments available for sale for obvious reasons, with this piece being retrieved from a graveyard clearance via a stonemason.

By far and away the most common statuary in the churchyard and cemetery is the winged angel. Some were mass produced and often rather too sentimental, however, there are some extremely well-conceived angels too, such as this one, with her pensive face, expressive gesture and flowing drapes outlining and emphasising the female form.

Angels found in graveyards are a symbol of spirituality guarding the tomb and are thought to be messengers between God and man. They appear in many different poses, each with its own individual meaning, with an angel with open wings, like this one, thought to represent the flight of the soul to heaven. With her head bowed and her hands clasped she is wonderfully serene.

The long-haired young girl leaning sadly with clasped hands is conventional, and time has taken away some of the surface of the marble, and yet, the drapes alone put this work far above the average. The legs strain against the thin fabric, with the shape of the figure emphasised, the curves of drapery on the torso and around the arms give complete harmony, and the fluidity of the carving conjures up wind blowing against an otherwise perfectly still figure.

A piece with an ethereal reverence.