PLEASE NOTE: this book has been created for the specific reason of helping those that are thinking about commissioning a memorial for a recently lost loved one. I have included it, together with other books from the Memorial Arts Charity, within my stocklist as I feel that the superb quality of work contained within them would be inspirational to anyone interested in cutting letters in stone or other media.
This book contains work by Geoffrey Aldred, Harry Brockway, Andres Daish, John Das Gupta, Chris Elsey, Peter Furlonger, Bettina Furnee, Robyn Golden-Hann, John Nash, Ron Parsons, Michael Rust, Nicholas Sloan, Una Sullivan, Andrew Whittle, and many others together with commentary from Gary Breeze, Nicholas Sloan, Harriet Frazer, Ben Jones and Simon Frazer.
A great resource for anyone interested in Lettercutting.
Foreword of the book by Libby Purves
A gravestone, memorial to love, belongs both to the past and to the future. A stone in a churchyard is a landmark, given by private grief to the parish landscape in an odd and bittersweet kind of sharing. And, as years and centuries go by, we the first mourners will fade and the stones still stand as tribute and evidence of human love and respect.
So it is a delicate business, this placing of a private stone in a public place. The clergy to whom the churchyards are entrusted for the long future hold a high responsibility of one kind - historical, aesthetic, and theological - while the mourners hold another kind of responsibility: to remember their dead as they were, individual personalities not ciphers or statistics. The artists who help the bereaved towards a right memorial hold a third responsibility: to their own craft and vision.
Sometimes these duties seem to clash. In the first intensely personal grief,
none of us want to give any ground at all to anything impersonal or regulatory: it maddens us. At the same time, there has often been clerical anxiety or bewilderment about a mass of imprecise regulation, and a difficulty in reconciling stern traditional aesthetics with the wishes of surviving relatives, especially when the dead are very young. An image, a line, a dashing style which expresses a life as well as a loss, may fall foul of this anxiety for no good reason.
Taking a long view, though, there is less need for these conflicts than one
might think. Look round the inscriptions in any churchyard with a deep history and you see how the spirit of each age has been interpreted in its stony memories - playful or devout, pragmatic or idealistic, tearfully doubtful or radiant with hope. People have always raised memorials, and the Church accepted them with only the mildest of restraints for many centuries.
But our mechanized age brought new troubles to the graveyards. A monotonous machine-cut ugliness has flooded in, from an industry well accustomed to embracing regulatory blandness: so today we reach a situation where - ironically - that very monotony is sometimes more acceptable to incumbents than a more imaginative personal bequest devised by thoughtful mourners and their collaborator artists.
Yet how will our far descendants judge us? What will they seek as they,
like us today, wander among past memorials trying to understand the emotional truths of life and death? It is not our timid blandness which will feed them but art and sincerity: tributes which are individual as well as timeless.
A renewal of courage and a broadening of sympathies would in many dioceses serve the future, as well as the past, better than it sometimes does today.
1st edition, 2010, paperback, 64pp, over 405 colour plates and other illustrated examples finished memorials including design plans of some, 15 x 21.1 cm