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Marker for the grave of children. Oil painting on wrought iron.

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Credit: Marker for the grave of children. Oil painting on wrought iron. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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About this work


Tombstones are a common sight in British churchyards, but such stones, carved by monumental masons, are products for upper end of the funerary market. Wooden gravemarkers have been used for more modest budgets, as have metal ones, usually shaped like an A. Such items are shown in old prints of burial grounds. The present gravemarker is made of iron and has a long stem that goes down through the ground so that it touches the coffin: a heart formed in the stem symbolizes the love between the living and the dead. The upper part has a candle holder and a painting of the parents praying to Saint Margaret for the souls of their six dead children. It was originally created and used in the late 18th century, but was then re-used six times, each time being repainted. Originally the stem was golden, the curlicues were silvered, and the candle-holder was sky-blue. Gravemarkers of this type are commonly found in Austria and Bavaria. A similar one is seen in a graveyard scene in the film of The sound of music, which is set in Salzburg Copy photograph V 18452 shows the grave marker being held by Rhian Harris

Physical description

1 mixed media work : wrought iron and oil paint on wrought iron ; iron 203 x 60.2 x 53 cm

Publications note

Paul Werner and Richilde Werner, Vom Marterl bis zum Gipfelkreuz: Flurdenkmale in Oberbayern, Berchtesgaden ca. 1991 (similar works)


Wellcome Library no. 47295i

Creator/production credits

Probably by German or Austrian artists

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