In every culture around the world there are supersitious signs and omens surrounding death and dying and the foretelling of this event. Some you may have already heard of before and others are a variation of a theme........
Here are just a few:
If the deceased has lived a good life, flowers would bloom on their grave; but if they have been bad, only weeds will grow upon it.
If several deaths occur in the same family, tying a black ribbon to everything left alive that enters the house, even animals, will protect against more deaths spreading further.
Bad Luck will follow you if you wear anything new to a funeral, especially shoes.
Always cover your mouth while yawning so your spirit doesn’t escape and the devil could enter your body instead.
It is bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on. If you see one approching, turn around. If this is unavoidable, hold on to your collar until the funeral cortege passes.
Large drops of rain warn that there has just been a death.
Stop the clock in a death room or you will have bad luck.
To lock the door of your home after a funeral procession has left the house is bad luck.
If rain falls on a funeral procession, the deceased will go to heaven.
If you hear a clap of thunder following a burial it indicates that the soul of the departed has reached heaven.
If you hear 3 knocks and no one is there, it usually means someone close to you has died. The superstitious call this the 3 knocks of death.
If you leave something that belongs to you to the deceased, that means the person will come back to get you.
If a wild bird enters your house it is a portent of someone living there, dying soon.
If you smell roses or lillies when none are present, someone is going to die.
If you don’t hold your breath while going by a graveyard you will not be buried.
If you see yourself in a dream, your death will follow.
If you see an owl in the daytime, a death will follow.
If you dream about a birth, someone you know will die.
If it rains in an open grave then someone in the family will die within the year.
If a picture falls off the wall, there will be a death of someone you know.
If you spill salt, throw a pinch of the spilt salt over your shoulder to prevent a death from happening in the family.
Never speak ill of the dead because they will come back to haunt you or you will suffer misfortune.
Two deaths in the family means that a third is sure to follow.
The cry of a curlew or the hoot of an owl foretells a death.
A single snowdrop growing in the garden foretells a death.
Having only red and white flowers together in a vase (especially in hospital) means a death will soon follow.
Dropping an umbrella on the floor or opening one in the house means that there will be a death in the house.
A diamond-shaped fold in clean linen portends death.
A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe.
Monday 31 January 2011
Friday 28 January 2011
1898 Theo Swagemakers 1994
1910 Elly Swagemakers 1999
Theo Swagemakers wanted to be a painter and took lessons and took classes with Jan Petrus van Delft. In 1923 he trained in Brussels, at the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts and in 1926 he continued his studies at the Academy Colo Rossi in Paris.
In 1929 he got his first major exhibition in Paris Galerie Jacob.
Theo was a prolific painter of portraits, some eleven hundred portraits are known to be his and include members of the royal family, prelates, industrialists and bankers, but also colleagues, friends and his wife Elly and their only child, Victor.
And so he was much in demand as a portraitist.
Besides portraits, he also painted landscapes, seascapes and still lifes in particular.
Making a total of some two thousand pieces of work.
Many of which are on display at the Swagemakers Museum in Haarlem, which opened in 1999.
Swagemakers painting Louis Moon
Studio on Herengracht, Amsterdam
Wednesday 26 January 2011
Tuesday 25 January 2011
The Bluebell Area in Springtime
Woodland burial grounds are becoming increasingly popular here in the UK. Although I love spending my spare time photographing cemeteries and generally wandering around them, I have until recently, thought I would prefered to be cremated. I didn't want to wind up in one of the many neglected and sadly forgotten graves, that I encounter all too often for my liking.
Rose Tree Walk ~ January
So yesterday we went on a visit to the Epping Woodland burial ground in Essex.
The staff there were very helpful and friendly and offered to show us around and explain exactly what is involved in opting for a woodland burial.
The Epping site is situated on the edge of North Weald in Essex and is an unconsecrated mature wooded area ~ not all woodland burial sites are mature and so they may still appear very open and field like by comparison.
The Woodland Hall
The Woodland Hall, is where the service is held and it has beautiful panoramic windows that look out into the woodland beyond. Bird feeders encourage the wildlife and we saw many squirrels scampering about outside. The Gathering Hall is a similar smaller building next door and may be used for the reception after the burial.
Full body remains or Ashes only may be interred and the method of service to be held is entirely up to the individual. So you are completely free to choose a conventional religious burial and have the ground consecrated if you wish, or a Humanist service for those who are Atheist, or even the option of just having your own family, friends and loved ones conduct the service for you.
Most funeral services I have attended in recent years, have been conventional and so often I hear the Vicar remark upon the fact that they are conducting a ceremony for someone they never knew and that always appear an odd and empty sentiment to me, but unfortunately all too common these days.
All plots are sold as double plots and may be marked with a wooden memorials . A total of 18 plots will eventually surround the one tree of your choice ~ however, after the first five interments around the particular tree, there is a period of five years before the next
burials can take place. This allows the tree and its root system a sufficient time to regenerate. Ashes are buried within the circle.
For more information, please click on the bold type script for a link to these sites.
Friday 21 January 2011
Eugenie Godefroy Werners
Zorgvlied, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Here are some of Eugenie's Paintings
To see more work, please click here
Wednesday 19 January 2011
Sadly I could see no name or date on this rather colourful Giraffe headstone in the Zorgvlied cemetery in Amsterdam. So I'm just assuming that it belongs to a child, or at least someone who was young at heart.
It's so uplifting to see a monument that celebrates an aspect of a loved ones 'life' and even those symbols of eternal 'reunion' can offer a sense of hope to those who are left behind.
So this unusual marker above - whoever is belongs to - gets the thumbs up from me.
The loss of a child is so tragic and difficult to comprehend, because it goes against our instinctive belief in the natural order of things.
Surely those symbols that focus on our loss and grief, are all the more sorrowful and poignant when displayed by such heart-breaking effigies, such as angels weeping and slumped grieving figures, that they add all the more to that sense of despair.
What do you think ?
Monday 17 January 2011
A Genteel Notice from a time gone by......
to keep on the
And not to pluck
or injure the
allowed to be
Thursday 13 January 2011
The small nearby village of Hempstead, Essex, is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly it is the final resting place of the famous Physician William Harvey and secondly it is the birthplace of the infamous Highwayman Dick Turpin.
The remains of William Harvey
Discoverer of the Circulation of the Blood
were reverentially placed in this Sarcophagus, by
The Royal College of Phsyicians of London
in the year 1883
William Harvey was an English physician who was the first to describe accurately how blood was pumped around the body by the heart.
Harvey was born in Folkestone, Kent on 1 April 1578. His father was a merchant. Harvey was educated at King's College, Canterbury and then at Cambridge University. He then studied medicine at the University of Padua in Italy, where the scientist and surgeon Hieronymus Fabricius tutored him.
Fabricius, who was fascinated by anatomy, recognised that the veins in the human body had one-way valves, but was puzzled as to their function. Harvey took the foundation of Fabricius's teaching, and went on to solve the riddle of what part the valves played in the circulation of blood through the body.
On his return from Italy in 1602, Harvey established himself as a physician. His career was helped by his marriage to Elizabeth Browne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth 1's physician, in 1604.
In 1607, he became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and, in 1609, was appointed physician to St Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1618, he became physician to Elizabeth's successor James I and to James' son Charles when he became king. Both James and Charles took a close interest in and encouraged Harvey's research.
Harvey's research was furthered through the dissection of animals. He first revealed his findings at the College of Physicians in 1616, and in 1628 he published his theories in a book entitled 'Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus' ('An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals'), where he explained how the heart propelled the blood in a circular course through the body. His discovery was received with great interest in England, although it was greeted with some scepticism on the Continent.
Around 1650, Eliab Harvey, brother of the famous Doctor William Harvey, excavated a crypt for the family coffins and built a chapel and schoolroom (now the vestry) over it.
Harvey was also the first to suggest that humans and other mammals reproduced via the fertilisation of an egg by sperm. It took a further two centuries before a mammalian egg was finally observed, but nonetheless Harvey's theory won credibility during his lifetime.
Harvey retained a close relationship with the royal family through the English Civil War and witnessed the Battle of Edgehill. Thanks to Charles I he was, for a short time, warden of Merton College, Oxford (1645 - 1646).
He died on 3 June 1657.
In 1882 the 15th century tower fell down rendering the church unusable until 1888, after a restoration programme had been completed. In 1883 the Royal College of Physicians removed William Harvey’s coffin from the crypt and placed it in a Carrara marble sarcophagus in the Harvey chapel, leaving 49 other members of the family in the crypt.
In 1933 the Harveian Society of London gave money for the rebuilding of the tower.
St. Andrews, Hempstead, Essex
The other interesting fact about the village of Hempstead, is that it is the birthplace of Britain's most infamous Highwayman 'Dick Turpin', who was born at the Bluebell Inn, Hempstead in 1705. He was later caught for horse theft and executed by being hanged in York.
Dick Turpin and his horse Black Bess
The Bluebell Inn
Wednesday 12 January 2011
Monday 10 January 2011
Another Wooden Headboard,
this time from St. Peter's Church, Arlesley, Bedfordshire
In Memory of Mary the wife of Joseph Newbury
who died Februaury 13th 1872 Aged 50 Years
Remember me when you pass by. As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you must be, Prepare yourself to follow me.
After reading an epitaph like this, life sounds all downhill from now on.
St. Peter's, Arlesley, Bedfordshire
Friday 7 January 2011
As a boy of 10, Cees Langendorff made drawings of bridges, on the back of rolls of wallpaper because he wanted to be a bridge builder.
Later he worked in clay at the State Academy in Amsterdam.
As a sculptor he received commissions from the cities of The Hague and Amsterdam, and he conducted all his work. After periods of austerity, he switched to drawing and painting.