Tomb of Alexis Benoît Soyer (1809-1858), Emma Jones Soyer (1813-1842), and François Simonau (1783-1859). Designed by Alexis Soyer, carved by Pierre Puyenbroeck of Brussels. 1844. Kensal Green Cemetery, London. Rededicated on 30 March 2009, after restoration. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]
This monument commemorates Alexis Benoît Soyer, “the leading chef and dietician of the mid-19th century, responsible also for reforming army catering in the Crimea,” and his wife “'the English Murillo' . . . [who] died, aged 28, after a miscarriage induced by her terrible fear of thunderstorms ” as well as Emma's step-father, the “Flemish Murillo.” According to the British Listed Buildings site, Alexis Soyer's wife was named Elizabeth and she died aged 29 years; the Kensal Green site gives her name as "Emma" and age as 28. Whereas British Listed Buildings identifies the figure surmounting the monument as Faith, the cemetery site states it is Hope.
According to the British Listed Buildings site, the bas relief portrait is in the style of Van Dyck, and the “easel and brushes are suspended below and still bear extensive remains of paint which originally decorated this monument. The rear of the middle section contains a recess which formerly housed her easel behind glass, together with a wreath presented by Mlle Cerito, an opera singer” Neither site mentions Lady Elise Isabelle Watts FRGS (née Simonau) who is described as “Citizen and Shipwright of London,” who was born in Brussels but whose dates of birth and death are missing.
Photographs and caption by Robert Freidus. Formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Victorian Web and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]
“Monuments retsored” Kensal Green. Web. 21 July 2013.
“Tomb of Elizabeth and Alexis Soyer, Kensington and Chelsea.” British Listed Buildings. Web. 21 July 2013.
Last modified 16 July 2013