Cardinal Wiseman's tomb
Edward Welby Pugin (1834-1875)
Alabaster and marble
The crypt of Westminster Cathedral, London SW1
Cardinal Wiseman, first Archbishop of Westminster, was originally interred in the Roman Catholic burial ground next to Kensal Green Cemetery, but transferred to the cathedral early in 1907 Winefride de l'Hôpital, daughter and biographer of John Francis Bentley, the architect of Westminster Cathedral, writes: "The mitred head of the recumbent figure is supported by angels, the body resting on a tomb of alabaster with a slender column of dark marble at each angle. Centrally on either side beneath a crocketed and triple-arched canopy are figures of the saints." She goes on to say that the "lateral quatrefoil panels have sculptured representations of incidents in the lives of these saints, in bas-relief. The plinth is of dark-toned marble" (145-6). However, the quatrefoil seen here shows a cardinal's cap over a shield. The Cardinal's own, now very ancient-looking, cap hangs above him, as is the custom. Beneath his effigy's feet lies a wonderfully plump, defeated dragon.
Photograph and text 2010 by Jacqueline Banerjee.