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DICK JOHNSON: REMOVE METAL WORKS FROM FAMILY GRAVESTONESDick Johnson writes:
Neither the item in last week's E-Sylum on the Felix Schlag cemetery monument, nor the original article describes the monument in detail. Is the Jefferson nickel design engraved in the head stone? Or is the design in some material affixed to the stone?
It looks to me like the image is carved into or somehow applied to the stone. But Dick makes a good point about unattended decorative elements on headstones. -EditorRecently I had a family member ask me what to do with a metal galvano of a sculptor's parents mounted on a headstone at the family grave site. The director of the cemetery recommended its removal because cemeteries across America can no longer guarantee protection of any metal parts on any monuments. Thieves are stealing the metal and selling it for its scrap value. Bronze decorations (and metal galvanos) are vulnerable because of their copper content. Thieves have no respect for any artistic value of the art object, sentimental value to the family, desecration of the dead, attractiveness of the grave monument, or vandalism of the cemetery.
The trouble is, the galvano has been on the stone for 80 years. It may shatter if removed. My recommendation was to have a modern sculptor make a plaster cast -- on site! -- before it is removed, particularly if this is the only such relief of the portraits extant. Then have a monument maker remove the metal galvano.
Metal and stone are the only permanent material to replace it. An inexpensive epoxy cast could be used for the replacement. However epoxy is not permanent, but it would dissuade thieves as it does not look like metal.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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