Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mariners' Angel

Here's another interesting stone from Plymouth, MA. Most of the work — the lettering and the stars — was done by the same carver who was responsible for those strange, possibly machine-made urns.
The central design is wholly different. The hand-carved ship and waves are lovely and the angel, while slightly awkward, is nice in an American primitive sort of way. I'm sure I've seen something similar painted on a wooden shingle or stitched on a pillow in the Old Sturbridge Village gift shop.

The image of an angel watching over a ship isn't exactly subtle, but it is poignant in a graveyard crowded with cenotaphs dedicated to men who died at sea.

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

That stone is also illustrated in Blachowicz's From Slate to Marble, where he attributes it to the John Tribble workshop, with some discussion of who in the shop did the work. (I know nothing about Plymouth and so can only repeat what he says.)

"The large slate gravestone for Capt. Chandler Holmes, Jr. (1831) (Fig. 8.34) has in its tympanum a finely worked vessel with what appear to be broken masts and torn sails in a choppy sea and with a trumpeting angel calling the young sea captain, twenty-seven years of age, to the afterlife. (This upper half of this stone was broken off--sparing the tympanum, luckily--sometime in 1998, but it has since been repaired.) There are also two five-pointed stars flanking the tympanum, and the inscription is written in the cursive script we have seen on the laced-willow stones."