Figure 1. Webb monument. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

I spotted the ship from 100 paces and my heart quickened. I love shipwrecks, and here was ship at an odd angle. Foundering?

No, as it turns out, the ship on the base of the Eckford Webb obelisk is being built (figure 2):

Figure 2. Webb monument. Detail: panel with image of ship. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

And on the opposite side of the base is the epitaph (figure 3):

Figure 3. Webb monument. Epitaph. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

ECKFORD WEBB,
APRIL 8, 1825,
SEPT. 27, 1893.

“AN EMINENT SHIPBUILDER,
AND CONSTRUCTOR OF THE
CAISSONS FOR THE FIRST
BROOKLYN SUSPENSION BRIDGE.”

I love the hawser borders of the panels on the base! But look up from the epitaph and there is another wonderful surprise (figure 4):

Figure 4. Webb monument. Monogram. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

Centered within a laurel crown of victory tied by a ribbon is Webb’s monogram worked out in more hawsers. The E is one cut piece of rope, while the W is another starting (let’s say) at the top right and working down and to the left into a series of loops and knots forming the letter W and notionally with its knots also the central horizontal bar of the E. The way the cutter has avoided an over-neat symmetry in the two laurel branches and sides of the ribbon in the wreath is splendid, too. On the other hand, the monogram, though centered with the letter W, and perhaps not without reason, feels a little off-balance because the E comes down more on the right side.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Out of curiosity, I asked some eagle scouts about the knot in the W and they all said it was not a recognized or useful knot, but just the way a stonecutter might lay a piece of rope to get an idea for a design.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would be very surprised if this were not a real knot from the nautical world. Looks to me to be a fisherman’s bend.

      Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: