Monday, March 12, 2012

Weeping Willows

Above and below: Two ornate examples of the willow and urn motif from the Church Grounds section

As soul effigies passed out of fashion for gravestones, two motifs replaced the solemn winged faces - willow trees and urns. Often, these two were combined in carvings with an urn depicted beneath the branches of a willow. Sometimes, the urn was replaced with a tiny carved monument in the willow's shade. Willows might also appears in pairs on headstones, especially those of married couples.

A matching pair in the Church Grounds

This is one of a set of small gravestones in the Hitchcock family lot on the slope of the South Ridge overlooking the Cemetery's main gate and office. Each stone in this set has a slightly different variation on the willow and urn motif.
Numerous examples of these willows can be found at the Albany Rural Cemetery, both in the Church Grounds and in private family plots. They most commonly appear on headstones from the early 1800s with far fewer examples appearing post-Civil War.

With its low, drooping branches, the willow was a simple, elegant symbol of mourning.

Late example of a willow motif on the South Ridge

No comments:

Post a Comment