Gravestone of Bertram Dustcough
Fragment of an 18th century gravestone modeled after one in the Old Burial Ground in Harvard Square, Cambridge.
Oh, man, do I love gravestones! Especially the 17th and 18th century slate markers from New England. I took a bunch of pictures of some of my favorites and decided on this one because of the death head (of course) and the cool hourglass and crossbones. I didn't use the real name on the stone. Instead I used my favorite fictitious name, Bertram Dustcough, borrowed from Edward Gorey. Slate is an amazing medium for gravestones. While marble, sandstone, and limestone monuments melt in the rain over hundreds of years, slate loses almost none of it's surface features. After 500 years you can still see the tiny reference lines used in carving the text. It was also difficult and expensive to carve the stones so abbreviations and conjoined letters would often be used. The "Y" with the little "e" on top of it means "the" and you can see how the "H" and the "E" from "HERE LYES" share a stem. Death was certainly viewed differently by the colonists back then. It was a hands on part of daily life. And it might seem difficult from our modern perspective to understand that a skull with wings on tombstones was seen rather as inspirational than macabre.
Approximately 7" x 7" x 2"
All my sculptures are hand created in clay and then cast in Hydracal which is a dense, tough form of plaster. They are finished using a combination of powder pigments, regular and iron paint, wax, water, and hours of studying broken and dirty pieces of things.