Laurel Glen Mausoleum

Anyone wishing to understand portraits in American mausolea must attentively study Laurel Glen mausoleum, the 1881 tomb of John P. Bowman (1816-1891), in Cuttingsville, VT. In this complex are five funerary portraits, all of which appear to have been commissioned by Bowman and put into place before his death. Below is a general image of […]

The Roberts mausoleum portrait

The St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Washington, D.C., would be a triple boon for those seeking to study Catholic iconography, but not very promising for those of us seeking funerary portraits. Or so I thought until I poked my nose into the Roberts mausoleum, dated 1913. I can’t find any inscriptions or other anagraphic data […]

A Sullivanesque mausoleum in Bala Cynwyd

This is a wonderful complex (figures 1, 2). Of course, you can guess that it dates to between about 1890 (Sullivanesque style) and maybe 1920 (crisp neoclassical elements like wreaths). The online records of West Laurel Hill Cemetery do not much help, but for what it’s worth, their opinion is that the John Williams buried […]

The Rose Keeling Hutchins funerary portrait

Here’s the Egyptian revival mausoleum of the Hutchins-Keeling distended family in Rock Creek Cemetery. “Distended” because we seem to have a case of a well-heeled man, Stilson Hutchins (1838-1912) who married a new wife, Rose Keeling (1867-1926), in 1890. It was a May-December thing, by the looks of it, with her being about 23 at […]

American Funerary Portraits in Glass and Stone

Among the Romans, it was very common, in some periods more than others, to have a portrait of yourself as a part of, or on the premises of, your tomb. It was an assertion of selfhood and existence and social significance before death; or it allowed a commemorator to assert these things for the dead. […]