Lunette - John Hartshorne #2 LbNA # 41864
|Found By||explorer88 |
|Last Update||Aug 24 2012 |
Have you ever marveled at the 18 and early 19th century headstones of our ancestors? The colonial burying grounds of New England represent some of the most wondrous carvings and are treasure troves of information and beauty of many kinds. The stones are the “persisting symbols of an art form that is largely indigenous, that reached a high level of abstract complexity and beauty that died away in an amazingly short period of time.”
The term lunette is referred to as the top central area of the stone, the area containing the cherub. In about 1722 Lieutenant John Hartshorne, then 70 years old, moved from Rowley, Massachusetts, to live with his daughter, Martha Ladd in Franklin, CT. He had been the earliest rural carver of Essex County, Massachusetts, where stones continued to be carved in his tradition for several generations. He was one of the last surviving veterans of King Philip’s War and had also survived a French and Indian raid on Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1708, in which his third wife, his son, and 3 grandchildren were killed.
Old John Hartshorne was to bring his skills to eastern Connecticut and establish a carving tradition that persisted until the close of the eighteenth century. His gravestones are very recognizable. They are, with few exceptions, small stones, not much more than 2 feet high. The top is three-lobed with the central lunette sometimes relatively high. The face is blank and staring, the mouth a simple transverse bar, the nose straight and slender, and both eyes and head usually “framed” as a double circle. On either side of the face is a variation on one of two basic themes. The first of these designs consists of one to three (or even four) segmented layers, often with an eye present centrally above the face. This is generally considered to be an abstract bird motif, a variant of which consists of three or four layers meeting centrally above the face, and producing a halo-like effect. The second major design rather resembles an upswept hair-do, consisting of an upward and then outward and downward series of stripes. At times an exaggerated variant of this style has the appearance of a pair of rabbit’s ears. Let’s find an example of one of these carvings!
Windham Cemetery – Windham, CT
Park your car somewhere in the cemetery. You will see 2 sets of signs at the main entrance – Rules of the Cemetery and Cemetery Closed at Sunset. At the latter sign take a reading of 50 degrees and 8 paces to the wife of Benjamin Follet, which is an example of the Rabbit ears design by Hartshorne. (hint – the reading will take you up on the hill that is held by the stone wall) From the wife’s stone, face 255 degrees and find the top of the tree that is visible at that reading. Go to that tree then north to stone wall. Follow the wall westerly until you are within 4 to 5 feet from another tree. Pull 1 stone to find the letterbox. Please respect the cemetery during your visit.