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Mausoleum of James McDonald, Brompton Cemetery, Kensington and Chelsea

Description: Mausoleum of James McDonald, Brompton Cemetery

Grade: II
Date Listed: 21 December 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1403339

OS Grid Reference: TQ2555277997
OS Grid Coordinates: 525552, 177997
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4870, -0.1931

Locality: Kensington and Chelsea
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: SW10 9AQ

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Listing Text


Mausoleum of James McDonald, 1902.

Reason for Listing

* Architectural: a large and elaborate mausoleum of high architectural quality in a sophisticated Flamboyant Gothic style;
* Artistic: good original sculpture and stained glass;
* Group value: located within the Grade I-registered Brompton Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.


Carre [Caroline] Rule McDonald died in January 1900; her husband, a chairman of the Anglo-American Oil Company, arranged for her body to be temporarily placed in the catacombs at Brompton Cemetery until the completion of the present mausoleum in 1902. James McDonald died in Washington DC in 1915; the removal of his remains to London was delayed by the Great War, and he was eventually interred at Brompton in 1920.

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 JC 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: White marble and black granite

DESCRIPTION: A large mausoleum adjoining the central walkway, resembling a small chapel in a Decorated Gothic style. Granite plinth, stepped base with angled off-sets; square corner pinnacles with leaf crockets and finials. Entrance front to north-east has a stepped gable crowned by an elaborate cross finial. Below is a depressed pointed arch supported on ringed granite shafts, with rich cusping to intrados and big leaf crockets to ogee extrados. Full-size statues of angels stand on pedestals within the arch, on either side of a smaller three-centred doorway with vine-scroll carving, containing a bronze door with floral openwork designs. Side elevations each comprise three blind cusped Gothic arches on granite shafts. Rear elevation has large blind ogee arch enclosing a small rose window of four quatrefoil lights. Interior walls have blind Gothic arches springing from granite corner shafts. Wall plaques commemorate Carre Rule McDonald (1854-1900), her husband James McDonald (1843-1915), and James Georger Briggs (1879-1909), her son by a previous marriage. Stained glass in rose window representing palms, lilies and crowns. Miniature altar below with corner shafts and carved reredos.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.