Things That Walk: The Weeping Angels and Gothic Semiology

In The London Burial Grounds (1896), Isabella Holmes describes All Souls’ Cemetery at Kensal Green as ‘truly awful,’ decrying ‘its catacombs, its huge mausoleums, family vaults, statues, broken pillars, weeping images, and oceans of tombstones.’(1) It was not, however, the ‘corruption underneath’ or the fact that it joined the Catholic site that so offended Mrs. Holmes, but the extravagance of the monuments themselves: ‘They are of no use to the departed,’ she wrote, ‘and they are grievous burdens laid on the shoulders of succeeding generations.’(2) The most common of these decorations were angels. Mrs. Holmes had no time for the ostentation of the bourgeois funeral, a celebration of death rivalled only by Egyptian pharaohs, and argued that monumental masonry was going out of fashion.

Written for Mnemoscape Online Magazine – View Original 1,293 more words


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