I noticed the most commonly used word to describe our headstones in 2023 is beautiful. So here is a selection of our beautiful headstones for inspiration.
It was important for the client to be able to see through the hole. There is something important about looking into the distance.
Beautiful slate headstone with gilded hole
The inscription on this headstone is uplifting and hopeful. It encourages the visitor to reminisce and celebrate a life well lived. The carvings of holly and mistletoe echo the image conjured up by the verse.
Beautiful headstone with carving of holly and mistletoe
Tulips are good to carve as they have a bold shape which works better on limestone and on all stone in general, better than for example a Snakeshead Fritillary which might break off. I also like the way the headstone echoes the one behind it. The context of a headstone is often forgotten when designing, but it is essential to take the surroundings into consideration. For more information on this there is a section in my Headstones book.
Beautiful headstone in Portland limestone
The hole on the headstone on the right was gilded with white gold which works much better on Greenslate than normal gold. I first made a headstone with this carving a few years ago and have since seen many copies in other churchyards. It is nice to think my work inspires others.
Beautiful headstones in slate
Ivy is a popular choice for headstones. The ivy here is carved in a flowing circular pattern echoing the inscription around it. This beautiful epitaph and carving has a very feminine feel.
Beautiful headstone with carved leaves in a circle
These distinctive bilobed leaves are those of the Ginko Biloba tree. This ancient prehistoric tree, also known as the Maidenhair tree has deep symbolic meaning. This is the first time I have been asked to carve them and it was a real joy. Native to China, the tree can live for a thousand years and is a symbol of longevity and good health. It also represents yin and yang in many Buddhist temples. A ginkgo leaf is used as the symbol of the the Urasenke tea school of Japan. The leaf represents happiness and ever-expanding good fortune. Ginkgo’s fan-shaped leaves are thought to demonstrate the ever-widening future spreading out before us. I designed the leaves to look like they are falling in an autumnal pattern; there is freedom and energy in the leaves, and the gold here works really well, reflecting their natural autumnal colour.
Beautiful headstone with gilded leaves
This green slate headstone is quite formal, with a less commonly chosen flat top. It has two carvings, one of a Maltese Cross and one of a dove. The simple Latin inscription "Satis Est Caritas" means "Love is Enough", which is short, and yet carries so much meaning.
Beautiful green slate headstone
The headstone on the right features the Lion of Waterloo, as the person it commemorates was from Waterloo. The top of this headstone is quite ornate, with French influence in its choice.
Beautiful and majestic headstones
This is a truly beautiful example of the variety and uniqueness of green slate. Sadly getting much harder to source, the beauty of green slate lies in its individuality; no two headstones are alike, and I love the natural lines that run through the cut surface of the stone, a result of its volcanic origins. This is a far cry from the black polished granite headstones favoured by many monumental masons. The disc at the top of this headstone is gilded with white gold.
Elegant and beautiful headstone with dandelion clock
This beautiful quote by Julian of Norwich deserves is given plenty of space on the reverse of this headstone. I imagine that visitors will delight in discovering it when walking past. The lovely curved surface of the headstone (pebble like) and the curved insides of the hole also invite people to touch it and feel its smoothness. Touch is a sense that is often overlooked when designing a headstone, and different headstone materials have different tactile qualities.
Beautiful rounded headstone with hole
Reference: The Ginko Biloba Tree https://gardenandhappy.com/gin...
Our Headstones book is full of advice and inspiration and every penny we raise goes to supporting Maggie's Cancer Care Charity
Fergus created Stoneletters Studio in 2003, after training at the Kindersley Workshop. He is a member of the prestigious Master Carver's Association.