Blundon monument, Glenwood Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author.

Apart from the Schnebels, who died decades earlier, the burials here fall in the period from 1936 to 1959. The first of the “modern burials” is that of Victor, who takes the siege d’honneur in the bas relief, and whose death presumably occasioned the commission of the monument. Other family members mostly in the same arc of time are listed on the back of the monument. The family built and sold houses.

What then, of Victor and Mr. Knickers, as I think of his dog? This monument is a hoary favorite among taphoholics, for Mr. K.’s goofy expression, I should imagine. The monument even has its own Pedia of Wiki page.

The portrait seems to me to be taken from a photograph. See the couple of token leaves on the “lawn.” It’s awkwardly cut and the sculptor was not expert at foreshortening or perspective.

Victor and Mr. Knickers portrait, Blundon monument, Glenwood Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author.

The view in the photograph above seems to me to be the ‘optimal’ view from which the relief was meant to be seen. At any rate, the infelicities of foreshortening and the off proportions of the limbs seem minimized (but by no means eliminated) from this angle. I cannot explain, even by lying to myself, what’s going on with Victor’s left leg. His right leg seems to have snapped at the ankle. He’s giving Mr. K. a nice hug, but his right arm seems improbably long, and the hand seems clumsily executed. The oxford shoe is merely OK.

Blundon has a tall, angular face. He died at age 40, so it is no wonder that there are few signs of aging. The face is smooth, the hair, parted on the left, does not much recede. Otherwise, it’s a pretty much undifferentiated cap. The eyes are cut with prominent, though not high arches; the pupils are drilled. The nose is straight. The ears are not prominent. The expression of one of calm contentment.

The clothing betokens a life of relative ease, and the fashions of the 1930s look effectively modern. He wears a double-breasted suit (see the peak lapels), top and middle button fastened. A vest pokes out, and underneath a shirt with point collars and tie. The cutter has been at pains to depict rolls and folds of the cloth, but the granite does not allow it with any delicacy.

Mr. K. has analogous problems with perspective and foreshortening, but the cutter has made every effort to sketch in scruffy fur. The goofy “Gee, Davey . . . do you think it might be . . . Gawd?” look is great.

I think it unlikely Victor Blundon arranged for this monument. His surviving family members probably chose a sentimental photograph to submit to a monument dealer for carving. That photograph artificially posed Victor on the ground (turf, I imagine) with his dog, but also worked to make Victor impressive by having him dress to the nines.

I infer that what we have here is the equivalent, at a less wealthy register, of transferring a bust in the round from the mansion to the family mausoleum so as to repurpose it for mourning and invidious display.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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