Monday, December 5, 2011


Simple gift

A stomach bug laid me low on Sunday, putting me off my stride and kicking my usual weekend post off the field of play. Here’s a brief post as compensation: one of my favourite pieces of monumental sculpture.

This monument is to Charlotte Elizabeth Digby, who died in 1820. She was wife of William Digby, who was a prebendary of Worcester Cathedral, which is how she comes to be here. Her monument was created by Francis Chantrey, who completed it in 1825. Chantrey, a prolific sculptor, was famous for his monuments to children. Some of the simplicity of his carvings of children is perhaps also seen in this reminder that after centuries of sleeping figures, putti, urns, berobed belledames, and theratrical gestures, a monument could show simply this: a young woman reclining on a couch, her hands together but not demonstrably prayerful, her head raised and calm, not downcast. Idealized? Yes. Classical? Certainly. But she belongs to the real world too.


Peter Ashley said...

Sorry you've been laid low. Perhaps you should adopt Charlotte's pose as Bournvita is brought to you.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Peter: Thank you. Much better now, although maybe the recovery would have been faster with Bournvita.

I don't have a chaise longue to recline on, but on Sunday I certainly needed one.

Ron Combo said...

Good grief, I was so taken with the tale of Charlotte that I decided to look her up and then came across some of the other treasures in the sainted county of Worcestershire:
I am particularly taken with Edmund Coles "a man of bad character" who died in 1606 and lies in the church of St Eadburga in Leigh (!). Something resonates there.
Great post, thank you and I hope your physical torment is at an end.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Ron: Thank you. Worcestershire is rich in monuments. I shall have to go to Leigh (aha!) now, and check out this bad man and former skull-cap-wearer. St Eadburga, by the ay, has a good Worcestershire cheese named after her.

I'm better, thanks. (It was agony for a while, though. As the great Flann O'Brien said, 'There is nothing so bad as a bad bag.')