Chest tomb for Barbe Maria Theresa Sangiorgi, c.1893
Reason for Listing
* Sculptural interest: a marble tomb featuring a sculpture of a youth strewing flowers on the grave, finely sculpted in a dramatic and emotive fin-de-siècle style rarely seen in English cemeteries
* Historic interest: the portrait medallion and the wording of the dedication, as well as the style of the monument itself, express the Italian identity of those commemorated and reflect the cosmopolitan character of late-C19 London
* Intactness: the tomb retains its metal boundary chain and posts
* Group value: with other listed tombs nearby, in the Grade I-registered Brompton Cemetery.
Theresa Sangiorgi died at Keffners Hotel, Church Street, Soho aged 60 years in September 1893. After her death a flat stone was installed on this plot, and at some later point the present monument was erected. The plot was owned by 'Giovanni Sangiorgi of S.P. Hotel Keeper', her husband. After his death on 10 May 1909, a relative, Giacomina Sangiorgi, added Giovanni's details to the monument. By this time Giovanni's body had been returned to the Continent, and he was buried at Lugano. A note of probate dated 11 August 1909 records the grant of the plot as passing to Giacomina, and on 15 October the grant of the adjacent plot to the north of the Sangiorgi tomb passed to an Eugène Rouard; this suggests that the Sangiorgis originally intended to have a larger plot but used only half of it.
The Sangiorgis' Italian origins are demonstrated not only in the language used on their tomb, but also in its dramatic and highly emotive sculptural style. The monument would not look out of place in the famous Cimitero Monumentale Di Staglieno in Genoa, but it is highly unusual in an English context.
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.
The monument takes the form of a sarcophagus on a plinth, surrounded by six square tapered metal posts linked with heavy chains. The sarcophagus lid has two carved palm fronds and a scrolled pillow upon which rests a relief portrait of Theresa Sangiorgi. Towards the back of the lid is a pedestal which supports a statue of a young man who strews flowers on the grave. Next to him is a an open book with a leaded inscription in Italian, giving the name and dates of Theresa Sangiorgi (1834-1893) and her husband Giovanni (1848-1909). It is recorded of Giovanni that he was born in Imola (a town near Bologna in Italy), died in London, and was buried at Lugano in Swiss-speaking Italy. Both dedications conclude 'Pace alla sua bell' anima' ('Peace be with his/her spirit'). In lead lettering on the chamfered lower edge of the lid are the words 'Morte li divide, ma non l'oblio' ('In death divided, but not forgotten'), presumably referring to the different locations in which husband and wife were interred.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.