Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Here lies....

Among those buried in Highgate West Cemetery are:

The painter, Lucian Freud [1922-2011], (whose work I recently mentioned in my post about art at Chatsworth House). He is the grandson of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

The author, Dame Beryl Bainbridge [1932-2010], whose work, which includes 'The Bottle Factory Outing', I confess I have never read.

George Wombwell [1777-1850] who was a famous menagerie owner, travelling the country with a variety of animals that he charged the visiting public to see. The sleeping lion on his grave reminded me a bit of the lion called Peace, in Saltaire. In fact it is Nero, Mr Wombwell's docile pet. He entered it into a lion-baiting contest with six bulldogs but Nero refused to fight.

Tom Sayers [1826-1865], who was a bare-knuckle prize fighter. He lost only one of his sixteen prize fights. He seems famous solely because of his last fight, in 1860, against the US champion Heenan. He dislocated his shoulder but fought on one-handed, almost blinding Heenan. After more than forty rounds the match was declared a draw after the ring was invaded by the public and police had to break up the ensuing melée. Shortly after this , boxing as a sport became regulated under the Queensberry Rules.  His grave is guarded by his mastiff dog, Lion, who was the chief mourner at his elaborate funeral to which 100,000 people turned up!


  1. Interesting photographs Thank you for the information
    Sayer's grave is the only one that feels eerie to me. Its a lovely headstone dog house with pet dog, Lion. Wombwell's lion, Nero is one of the most charming lion sculptures I've seen. The care of the paws melts the heart.

  2. All humanity is there! Wombwell's lion must be a distant relation of an elderly tomcat we had on the farm which refused to be chased by dogs, but if really riled would calmly turn towards them and give them a swipe across the nose with a sharp-clawed paw.

  3. An illustrious group Jenny. I have the very same little girl in my garden as Dame Beryl Bainbridge has here 😊

  4. The last two graves really strike me as poignant.

  5. They are all quite interesting but the last one really tugs at the heartstrings.

  6. Ah, so that is why I haven't seen any news about Lucian Freud's paintings recently. He is lying in that ceremony.


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