Almost on my doorstep, a walk through Brompton Cemetery is one of the fastest ways to reach Chelsea for me.
And, it’s a fascinating and hauntingly beautiful place. So, in an effort to improve my photography I spent an hour or so there on Sunday wandering round and taking pictures of whatever I spotted. The Cemetery was set up in 1836 and opened four years later. It was designed by Benjamin Baud, with a chapel based on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and a formal layout with a long processional path to the chapel, it is the final resting place of many famous Londoners.
Famous graves include that of Emmeline Pankhurst, Richard Tauber, John Wisden, Constant Lambert and John Cunard. It’s also said that the graves themselves were inspiration for many of Beatrix Potter’s characters – you can find graves including Mr Nutkins, Mr McGregor, Jeremiah Fisher, Tommy Brock and even a Peter Rabbett.
I haven’t taken any photos of the ‘famous’ graves though, so perhaps I will have to go back for another visit.
I’m not the first person to use the place as a giant outdoor photo studio; there’s usually a few professional photographers there complete with light boards and tripod as well as tourists and amateurs like me. Apart from a striking formal design, the cemetery is full of wildlife, including very tame squirrels, crows and foxes. And, the layout of the central colonnade lends itself to portrait photography. In addition to the buildings, several of the monuments are listed and strikingly beautiful. The Victorians really knew how to do death in style!