Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Victorian memorial

click photo to enlarge
Memorials interest me for their design and what they say about the time in which they were erected. I also look at them with an eye to what they say about the person commemorated, and about those who had it made - sometimes the same person, often not.

I don't know who had the tomb in today's photograph erected in the modest chapel at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, but it dominates it, an enormous altarpiece with elaborate sixteenth century Flemish carving notwithstanding. This is partly because it is pretty much the first thing you see when you pass through the main entrance. The simple brick-built, rectangular church with an apsidal end was built in 1836 after the restrictions on worship by Catholics had been lifted in Britain. The stone-clad, projecting chapel that houses the tomb and effigy was built on to the existing structure after the death of the person who is commemorated in it, so I imagine it is a tribute from his family, rather than a self-aggrandising monument. The light from the nearby windows illuminates the white Carrara marble effigy in a way that makes it seem quite ethereal, almost as though it is floating on the ornate alabaster chest below.

I tried a few different approaches to photographing the tomb, positioning myself at an angle near the feet, shooting over the surrounding rails, and concentrating on the upper body of the effigy. However, I preferred this one that uses the ornamental metalwork and wooden bench ends as a pierced silhouette through which the brighter tomb is viewed.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.2mm (48mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/20
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -1.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On