Altar tomb for Philip Nowell and family, 1843.
Reason for Listing
* Historic interest: commemorates Philip Nowell, the building contractor responsible for the principal structures at the cemetery;
* Design interest: a large and imposing Gothic altar tomb;
* Group value: it is located within the Grade I-registered Brompton Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.
Philip Nowell (c.1781-1853) was a major London builder, based at Grosvenor Wharf, Pimlico. His firm was among the contractors for the building of Belgravia during the early C19, and was also responsible for the construction of the main buildings and boundary walls at Brompton Cemetery. The present tomb was originally erected following the death in 1842 of his son George; his wife Anne and daughters Mary and Catherine, all of whom predeceased him, are also buried within.
Brompton Cemetery was one of the 'magnificent seven' privately-run burial grounds established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on London's overcrowded churchyards. It was laid out in 1839-1844 to designs by the architect Benjamin B Baud, who devised a classical landscape of axial drives and vistas with rond-points at the intersections marked by mausolea or ornamental planting, the latter devised by Isaac Finnemore with advice from J C Loudon. The main Ceremonial Way culminates in a dramatic architectural ensemble recalling Bernini's piazza in front of St Peter's in Rome, with flanking colonnades curving outwards to form a Great Circle, closed at its southern end in a domed Anglican chapel (the planned Catholic and Nonconformist chapels were omitted for financial reasons). The cemetery, never a commercial success, was compulsorily purchased by the General Board of Health in the early 1850s, and has remained in state ownership ever since.
MATERIALS: Portland stone
A Gothic altar tomb comprising a plinth carved with a series of blind trefoiled panels, and a tall central pedestal displaying blind ogee niches with crockets and flanking pinnacles. In front is a ledger slab, inscribed 'Entrance to the family vault of Philip Nowell of Lower Belgrave Place Pimlico', which marks the entrance to the vault beneath.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.