Sandstone headstone with relief carving, c.1879
Reason for Listing
The monument to George Hering is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Artistic interest: bears high-quality relief sculpture including a portrait of the deceased;
* Historic interest: commemorates a noted mid-C19 landscape painter;
* Setting: it is located within the Grade I registered Highgate Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.
George Edwards Hering (1805-79) was born in London, the son of a German bookbinder of aristocratic origins. He studied art at the Akademie in Munich and afterwards spent several years travelling and painting in Italy, Austria and eastern Europe. He returned London in the 1840s and rose to prominence as a painter of (mainly European) landscapes, exhibiting frequently at the Royal Academy and the British Institution; Prince Albert was among those who bought his work. His wife Catherine, née Bromley, was also an artist, and their adopted daughter Jeanie became a popular writer of novels, short stories and children's books.
Highgate Cemetery was the third of London's 'magnificent seven' burial grounds, a ring of suburban cemeteries established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. It was the creation of the London Cemetery Company, a joint-stock company founded by the architect and engineer Stephen Geary and formally instituted by Act of Parliament in 1836. A seventeen-acre site on Highgate Hill was laid out as a picturesque garden cemetery with a network of serpentine drives, culminating in a monumental catacomb complex at the top of the hill. Geary himself supplied the initial plans, with assistance from the architect JB Bunning and from the landscape gardener David Ramsay. The cemetery, opened in 1839 and extended to the east of Swain's Lane in 1854, enjoyed great popularity and prestige during the second half of the C19 (famous occupants include George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Karl Marx), but lack of money and maintenance led to a severe decline during the C20. Since 1975 it has been run on a charitable basis by the present Friends group.
The headstone has a shaped top with a circular recess containing a profile bust of George Hering carved in high relief. The leaded inscription identifies Hering as a landscape painter, and also commemorates his wife Catherine. At the foot of the monument is a bas-relief carving of an artist's palette and brushes.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.