Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Lucia Olcott Monument

This white marble monument on the Middle Ridge is an early work of Erastus Dow Palmer who is said to have designed the monument itself, as well as creating two pieces of sculpture for it.

It marks the grave of Lucia Marvin Olcott, first wife of Thomas Olcott.  Lucia died at the young age of twenty-five in 1850, two infant children having predeceased her. Thomas Olcott, one of Albany's prominent banker, was a founding member of the Albany Cemetery Association which established the Rural Cemetery and, in return for his work, was given his choice of a lot here at no charge.  Olcott himself is buried just across the path and his monument was also the work of Erastus Palmer.

The figure atop the monument is leaning over a book (which rests atop a draped urn) and presumably is inscribing the names of the deceased in this "Book of Memory."

The front of the monument features a relief which depicts a young woman, barefoot and with wings, ascending to meet to little cherubs who offer her a crown.  The soft marble has weathered and many of the details have eroded, particularly one of the winged infants and the crown.  This allegorical relief represents Lucia being welcomed to Heaven by her two children.

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