Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love After Death


"And if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death."
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Highgate Cemetery is located in Swains Lane, Hightage, North London. It was built in 1839 as one of seven planned cemeteries to accommodate burials in the quickly expanding city, which had previously taken place in local churchyards. It's quite a famous tourist destination, and as I find old cemeteries really interesting, I decided to go check it out. Highgate is divided into two segments: the East Cemetery which is the final resting place of famous people such as Karl Marx, Ralph Richardson and George Eliot, and the West Cemetery which is more famous for its stunning Victorian architecture.

Victorian attitudes about religion and death account for the lavish mausoleums and various memorials designed using styles that were in vogue at the time--classical symbols, angels, death masks (plaster placed over the deceased person's face so a statue could be fashioned as an exact likeness), statues of people's pets, etc. The cemetery also boasts two amazing architectural designs in the Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon, which our guide said were once painted in vibrant colors to reflect their exotic origins. Over time these memorials have been reduced to worn grey stone and nature has definitely taken over. The large trees and creeping vines add an extra touch of eeriness to the already haunting atmosphere.


  1. Wow, these photos are hauntingly beautiful!

  2. It's such a cool place! Muy recomiendo :)

  3. Wonderful pictures, Kendra! Thanks a lot for sharing. I should definitely go and see this cemetery next time I go to London. It looks perfectly decadent and eerie, yet peaceful and beautiful.

  4. Stunning photographs, Kendra. We have something in common- I love old cemeteries, the architecture, statues, old trees (the tree you pictured is like the Tree of Death, is it not? Fabulous creation of nature). I live in Indianapolis, and we have some very old cemeteries here, although naturally American cemeteries do not go back as far as yours!

    I particularly love the old-section Catholic cemetery where my folks are buried, as well as our equally old and much larger cemetery, Crown Hill. It has several crypts, the odd little house-like family structures with coffins inside. They are like Victorian homes in miniature. Beautiful. The haunting angels in your pictures remind me that I always wanted a statue of the weeping woman for my grave. I've seen them in very old cemeteries, a robed woman with her veiled face down to the side, one arm curved up to hide the face. So emotionally evocative. Can you imagine what a piece of art like that would cost today? I'm pretty sure my life insurance would not cover it! LOL!

    By the way, I responded to your comment on my blog post, and I'd like to thank you again for your suggestions and tips. My site is under construction this weekend. I'm in the mood for change, and it's going to be fun! If all goes well, Classic Becky's Brain Food: The Next Generation will be up and open to the public by the end of the weekend. Hope you come back to visit!


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