Monday, 10 September 2012

Sarah Losh

Tombstone for Sarah and Katharine Losh

I was pleased to learn that Jenny Uglow has just published a book on Sarah Losh.It prompted me to look up such of my photos of Wreay which have not got lost in the digital otherworld.  It is a surprise that no serious popular study has appeared before now for the whole story, particularly of the remarkable church Ms Losh designed, was a tale waiting to happen. In some aspects it is a theme you might have found in an A S Byatt novel.This, though, is true.

I have sometimes wondered if the interior at Wreay is not a kind of assemblage of oddities.Bits of this and that were brought to the ensemble from many diverse locations.This doesn't look quite like a unified conception both decoratively and formally:on this I should like to be proved wrong.

The pinecone

Here was a wealthy spinster who designed a most unusual church which she filled with symbolism based on natural forms.In some ways I like her gravestone most of all.The roughness is most un-Victorian: so too the biomorphic form suggestive of marine life.It is a pity about the miserable contemporary lettering-the equivalent of the wretched Courier of our own time.
In these circumstances one almost expects a specially designed lettering unique to the situation.It is a tombstone which must surely have been planned before death.The very standard contemporary lettering is unfortunate. It rather lets down the conception.You almost expect a special script just for this place alone.

The inscription: In vita divisa in morte conjunctae (though separated in life they were united in death)refers to this being the common grave of the sisters Sarah and Katharine Losh.

 And speaking of graves, there is a James Losh buried at Gosforth. His dates of 1763-1833 could just possibly make him a brother of Sarah.No doubt Ms Uglow will explain.James was a barrister and his statue by Lough is in the Lit&Phil.There were three other males from the Losh family active in Newcastle industry at the end of the C18 .

I am looking forward to reading this book and based on what I know of her earlier work on Hogarth and Bewick it will be a good and authoritative read.

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