Cosmic Hearse

So, as I mentioned a few posts ago my favorite historic site (it is actually technically a National Historic Landmark) in all of historic Philadelphia is Laurel Hill Cemetery, and in honor of their 175th Anniversary they are putting out a publication and accepting submissions of artwork and writing. I highly recommend the tours and programs at Laurel Hill. In addition to being full of cool monuments, it's situated along the Schuykill River which is probably the prettiest spot in Philly, is the resting place of many famous Philadelphians and has a few noteworthy and strange graves like one with a glass viewing window along the top, the movie prop grave of the character Adrian Balboa from Rocky Balboa (as a permanent fixture), a really amazing and famous one designed by Alexander Calder and my favorite grave that of Mrs. Catherine Drinkhouse Smith and her husband Professor Levi Franklin Smith who were both victorian spiritualists (and she was a medium!)

Anyway, this is my submission. The wreath is actually my favorite part and based mostly on victorian mourning art, hair jewelry and design. The center image is taken from a photograph I took at the cemetery recently, when I went on an exceptionally good, very long tour where they let us into a crypt! I'm pretty pleased with the whole thing, especially the wreath (I'm particularly into the mourning brooch), and it was really fun to be painting in full color again. I had wanted to do something a little more ambitious but I only had ten days to finish. I have some ideas for ways to frame the original which I might sell at some later point.

here are a few close ups:

As a side note, another really interesting (if you are a morbid creep like me) related place in Philadelphia is the Museum of Mourning Art which I visited and really liked. It's small but they have a really good collection of mourning jewelry, including one made from Abraham Lincoln's hair!


justin quinlan said...

that is great! I was at the BMA recently and they have a room of 19th century mourning needlepoint work. I believe the wall plaque stated that school girls were taught the art by making mourning pieces for George Washington.

Jeff P said...

Wow. Looks amazing, Jeanne.

wanderinggenie said...

Justin, that makes me want to go to the BMA again. I haven't been there since I lived in baltimore but I remember it having some neat stuff.

and thanks,dudes!

roxy said...

i love this. it really reminds me of being in laurel hill and seeing cool stuff inbetween laughing at the names on tombstones (butz, fitler, etc.)

wanderinggenie said...

If I had time to do a larger more detailed one I probably would have worked a comical gravestone name in there. "Franklin Stein". hahahaha.