Pink granite and Portland stone monument in the form of an enriched shaft flanked by seated figures, all set behind a ledger stone, 1846.
Reason for Listing
The tomb of Ann Gardner is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Artistic interest: high-quality figure sculpture in the manner of Raffaele Monti, with unusual and touching iconography associated with blindness;
* Historic interest: the monument commemorates various members of the family of Henry Gardner, brewer, who left half of his estate of £600,000 in trust for the benefit of blind people in England and Wales;
* Group value: with other listed monuments within the Grade I registered Kensal Green Cemetery.
Ann Gardner (d.1846) was the wife of Henry Gardner (d.1879), brewer, of St John Street. Gardner left an estate of £600,000, half of which was left in trust for the benefit of blind people in England and Wales. The sculpted figures are in the manner later made popular in the work of Raffaelle Monti (1818-1881).
The Cemetery of All Souls at Kensal Green was the earliest of the large privately-run cemeteries established on the fringes of London to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. Its founder George Frederick Carden intended it as an English counterpart to the great Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, which he had visited in 1821. In 1830, with the financial backing of the banker Sir John Dean Paul, Carden established the General Cemetery Company, and two years later an Act of Parliament was obtained to develop a 55-acre site at Kensal Green, then among open fields to the west of the metropolis. An architectural competition was held, but the winning entry – a Gothic scheme by HE Kendall – fell foul of Sir John's classicising tastes, and the surveyor John Griffith of Finsbury was eventually employed both to lay out the grounds and to design the Greek Revival chapels, entrance arch and catacombs, built between 1834 and 1837. A sequence of royal burials, beginning in 1843 with that of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, ensured the cemetery’s popularity. It is still administered by the General Cemetery Company, assisted since 1989 by the Friends of Kensal Green.
A complex and unusual composition centred on a tall, slightly tapering shaft or pedestal of pink Peterhead granite with a stepped granite and limestone base enriched with a foliate swag. This is surmounted by a draped urn set on a tall plinth, the latter having anthemion acroteria with downward-gazing putto's heads beneath. On either side are seated angelic figures in Portland stone, both winged and dressed in flowing garments. The left-hand figure is veiled and carries an extinguished torch and a scroll which it appears to be reading by touch; the right-hand figure reaches upwards, apparently beckoning. Both figures and shaft are set on a square base enriched with wreaths. In front is a curved granite ledger, and the whole monument is set on a shallow, rectangular sandstone base. The leaded inscriptions on the shaft and ledger commemorate Ann Gardner (d.1846) and various members of her family.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.