The term angel properly signifies a messenger, and is so rendered when applied to human agents in many passages of both Testaments..... Finally, when the last solemn hour draws nigh, .... when the dust retumeth to earth as it was, and the spirit ascendeth to God who gave it — then, at the bed of death, angels do most especially minister. [Stone 397, 404]

Throughout the Victorian Age images of personages from the spirit-world were plentiful: they are found in many manifestations in cemeteries.... They were very real to the Victorians. [James Stevens Curl 264]

Left to right: (a) and (b) A young woman sprinkles flowers over the grave of Edward James Coleman, who died aged 58 in 1916. The name of his wife, Emily Caroline, is inscribed below. She survived until 1931. (c) and (d) This young woman performs a similar service for the Kamp family. Otto Christian Emanuel Kamp's dates were from 1852-1921. His wife Wilhelmina survived until 1933. She was 77 years old, and a death notice was placed in the Times of 26 January, 1933. [Click on these and the following pictures for larger images.]

Left to right: (a) Angels watch over the graves of the Reverend John Brown, DD, who died in 1916, aged 70 years, and Alfred Edward Ihler, who was only 29 when he died in 1912. (b) and (c) A mourning figure clings to the cross over the grave of Ottilie Reissmann, who died in 1885 aged 16. (d) An angel points upwards to the heavenly home of Lizzie ("Lillie") Stennett, who died in 1913. The name "Lillie" is inscribed in loer case letters, rather than block capitals, between palm fronds on the base of this dynamic monument.

Left to right: (a) Eyes downcast, an angel holds a lily over the grave of Rosina Rich, who died in 1934, aged 50. (b) Another angel holds a wreath over the last resting place of Georgina Louisa Sarah Ann Ramsey, who died in 1895 aged fifty-six. (c) and (d) Evelyn Muriel Dray (1889-1926) and her family have a particularly dignified angel to guard their impressive grave. Though still in her thirties, Evelyn must have been a woman of substance. The inscription beneath the figure begins, "In ever loving memory / of / Evelyn Muriel Dray , M. B. E. / The dearly loved daughter / of / Fred and Allie Dray...." The impressiveness of the momument is explained by Rebecca Bouge, who finds that Frederick George Dray was not only a freeman of London, as it says in his own inscription below, but "a prominent member of the Masons Company."

All photographs except for the first two on the right by Robert Freidus, who also provided names and dates. First two photographs, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. Photographs reproduced here by kind permission of Highgate Cemetery.

Related Material


Bouge, Rebeccca. "In ever-loving memory of Evelyn Muriel Dray M.B.E." Flickr. Web. 19 August 2013.

Curl, James Stevens. The Victorian Celebration of Death. Paperback ed. Stroud: Sutton, 2004. Print.

Stone, Mrs. God's Acre: Or Historical Notices Relating to Churchyards. London: John W. Parker & Son, 1858. Internet Archive. Web. 19 August 2013.

Last modified 19 August 2013