"Daughter of Grace — Religion," Eliza Vaughan's Monument, by Joseph Edwards (1814-1882)

Photographs by Robert Freidus, appearing here by kind permission of Highgate Cemetery. Scanned images, captions, commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the scanned images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the source and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Daughter of Grace — Religion, erected above the grave of Eliza Vaughan (d. 1858), the wife of the Rev. R. C. Vaughan (mentioned in Hobhouse and various sources as the curate of All Saint's, Poplar), and other family members in Highgate Western Cemetery. Sculpted by Joseph Edwards (1814-1882), whose own monument is nearby, in 1861 (Allen), this pensive and graceful Sicilian marble figure is shown with one hand on a large Bible, the other holding a tiny bunch of drooping flowers (perhaps snowdrops?) to her breast, and is Grade II listed. It is 7' high and, together with the Sicilian marble pedestal rises to 12' high ("Religion," 90). Highgate cemetery is on either side of Swain's Lane, London N6.

Eliza Vaughan was the wife of the Rev. R. C. Vaughan, M.A., and "a lady whose gentle, enlightened, and unobtrusive excellencies won the deepest love of all who knew her" ("Religion," 90). The figure was seen in the studio by a writer for the Art-Journal four or five years before the 1866 issue in which it is discussed, and was shown at the International Exhibition of 1862 — in the illustrated catalogue of which Edwards is listed among the leading sculptors exhibiting there (300). The statue was later reproduced for another family memorial, this time the Harries family, in Cefn-coed-y-cymmer Cemetery by the River Taff in Edwards' home town of Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, South Wales — where "it is known locally as the 'White Lady'" (Allen)

A steel engraving from the Art-Journal (1866), by R. A. Artlett, following p. 92. (a) Close-up of the top part, showing the detail of the brocaded gown. (b) Whole figure. (c) The lower part, showing the large, bound Bible and the figure's sandalled feet.

The Art-Journal, always supportive of Edwards, could not speak too highly of this work. It finds that the figure suggests "the divine light of hope and consolation which religion throws over the dark shadows of the grave," and is "grave and exalted in its feeling and graceful in its form" (92). It then gives the source of Edward's inspiration in the work of the Scottish poet, Robert Pollock, entitled The Course of Time (1828), lines from which are engraved on the pedestal: "Daughter of Grace! RELIGION! / ..... now humbly bent / Upon thyself, and weeping down thy cheek / That glowed with universal love immense, / A tear, pure as the dews that fall in Heaven!" (qtd. in "Religion," 90). It adds that such a statue can be considered among the highest works of Christian art. The work was not just popular with the Art-Journal. It caught the public imagination, and achieved something approaching iconic status, being often reproduced in engravings (see list entry).

Related Material

Sources

Allen, Sylvia. "Details of Sculptor: Edwards, Joseph." A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851 (The Henry Moore Foundation). Web. 2 January 2014.

Ellis, Megan. "Edwards, Joseph." Welsh Biography Online (National Library of Wales). Web. 2 January 2014.

Hobhouse, Hermione. Survey of London: Volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs. British History Online. Web. 2 January 2014.

"Joseph Edwards." Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database. Web. 2 January 2014.

"List Entry: Monument to Eliza Vaughan." English Heritage. Web. 1 January 2014.

"Religion: From the Statue by Joseph Edwards." The Art-Journal, London. Vol. 5 (1866). Google Books. Free E-book. Web. 2 January 2014.

Shaffner, Colonel Tal. P. and the Rev. W. Owen. The Illustrated Record of the International Exhibition of the Industrial Arts and Manufactures, and the Fine Arts, of All Nations in 1862. London: London Printing and Publishing Company, 1862. Internet Archive. Web. 2 January 2014.


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2 January 2014