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Tomb of Frederick R Leyland, Brompton Cemetery

A Grade II* Listed Building in Redcliffe, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4856 / 51°29'8"N

Longitude: -0.1917 / 0°11'30"W

OS Eastings: 525653

OS Northings: 177846

OS Grid: TQ256778

Mapcode National: GBR 1P.4M

Mapcode Global: VHGQY.MXJH

Entry Name: Tomb of Frederick R Leyland, Brompton Cemetery

Listing Date: 7 November 1984

Last Amended: 21 December 2011

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1225750

English Heritage Legacy ID: 422215

Location: Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW10

County: London

District: Kensington and Chelsea

Electoral Ward/Division: Redcliffe

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kensington and Chelsea

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Luke, South Kensington

Church of England Diocese: London

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Summary


Tomb chest of Frederick Richards Leyland, c.1892, by Edward Burne-Jones.

Description

A tall, slender Portland stone chest on short Romanesque piers with cushion capitals with a copper roof, worked to suggest fish scales. All four sides are decorated with low-relief floral scrolls in copper. Raised lettering in a band on one of the long sides reads: 'Here lies Frederick Richards Leyland sometime of Woolton Hall Liverpool / and XLIX Princes Gate Born September XXX MDCCCXXXI Died January IV MDCCCCII'; along the base of the tomb is bronze lettering commemorating Leyland's wife, who died in 1910.

The tomb is set on a stone plinth and bound by fine wrought iron railings with lilyhead finials to the corners.

History

Frederick Richards Leyland was a ship owner and art patron, born the son of a bookkeeper in Liverpool in 1831. He made his fortune running the Bibby Line of steamships, where he started working as an apprentice in 1844. In 1872 Leyland bought out his employers, renaming the company the Leyland Line, and later began transatlantic services. Leyland was a great patron of the arts, leasing and restoring Speke Hall in Liverpool, an important half-timbered Tudor house, from 1867 and, from 1877, a Robert Adam-designed house Woolton Hall. From 1876 he remodelled his London home, at 49 Prince's Gate, to further his dream of 'living the life of an old Venetian merchant in modern London'. Leyland collected Italian Renaissance paintings and also became the leading patron of the Pre-Raphaelite group of artists, including Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Edward Burne-Jones and James McNeill Whistler; the latter decorated the entrance hall and dining room of 49 Prince's Gate. This is the only tomb designed by Edward Burne-Jones, who was principally a painter and designer of stained glass.

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 J C 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.

Reasons for Listing

* Architectural interest: a unique and beautiful tomb designed by one of the foremost artists of the Victorian era, Edward Burne-Jones, and his only work of funerary art
* Historic interest: commemorating a prominent patron of the arts, Frederick Richards Leyland, who commissioned work from Dante Gabriel Rosetti and James McNeill Whistler
* Group value: with other listed tombs nearby, in the Grade I-registered Brompton Cemetery.

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