The Tomb of William Mulready, RA (1786-1863), Kensal Green Cemetery. Godfrey Sykes, Designer; John Pulham and Son, builder. This is a "six-poster Lombard Renaissance" monument (Coones), with a full-length effigy of the Royal Academician William Mulready reposing under an elaborate canopy, atop plush drapery. It brings to mind Macbeth's famous words about Duncan: "After life's fitful fever he sleeps well" (Macbeth 3, ii, 23). Made of artificial stone which has weathered rather well, it still looks impressive, despite the gasometer in the background. Round the base are "incised miniature representations of some of Mulready's popular paintings" (Coones). [Click on these images and those that follow to enlarge them.]

Mulready could not have had a more prestigious memorial here. Godfrey Sykes was a celebrated designer, at this time a "key figure" in the decoration of the Victoria and Albert Museum (Crawley 70). The tomb stands prominently on the cemetery's Centre Avenue.

Incised outlines of Mulready's paintings

Left: Giving a Bite. Middle: Choosing the Wedding Gown. (The sculptor has cleverly adapted a picture with a vertical format” by it stretching out horizontally.) Right: The Sonnet. All three works are in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Left: Haymaking: Burchell and Sophia (private collection as of 1980). Middle: The Last One In (Tate Britain).

Two nudes surrounding The Seven Ages of Man (Victoria & Albert Museum).

Emblems representing the painter's art

Related Material

Photographs by Robert Freidus. Formatting and perspective correction by George P. Landow. Text by Landow and Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Coones, Paul. Kensal Green Cemetery: A Concise Introductory Guide & Select List of Notable Monuments, Together with a Plan. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, 1994.

Crawley, David. Introduction to Victorian Style. London: Eagle Editions, 1998.

Heleniak, Kathryn Moore. William Mulready. New Haven and London. Yale University Press, 1980.

Last modified 20 May 2012