Monday, 16 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 17 - Trumpeting the way to life everlasting


Many people die in the hope of resurrection. Today, I show you a sublime example of the Resurrection Angel, holding a trumpet and pointing the way to God and Life Everlasting. It was commissioned by a loving (and rich) son, in memory and hope for his parents.
Although 'reserved and retiring', he was a 'very kindly gentleman', with neatly brushed hair and a trim beard and moustache. He was a member of Killara Golf Club, and was an excellent photographer.
Thus goes the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography for Sir William Dixson, after whom the Dixson Wing of the State Library of New South Wales is named. I will refer to him as Sir William, not in deference to the imperial Honours System, but because this monument gives no greater emphasis to him than to any other member of his very large family. The Dixson Wing comprises a gallery, and a library. The Dixson Gallery was opened in 1929 and the Dixson Library, housing Sir William’s great collections of rare books and manuscripts, coins and stamps was opened in 1959, seven years after his death. In the 1930s, Sir William gave to the library its great bronze entrance doors, and three stained-glass windows in the main reading room.

Sir William himself was a bachelor who was buried with Anglican rites, whereas others in the family were cremated with Presbyterian forms.

This is actually the monument of his father, Sir Hugh, but I don’t want to talk about him because he started the family fortune from tobacco. But, to their credit, it was what they DID with the fortune that was interesting. Sir Hugh and his wife, Dame Emma (*groan* those honours again!), were philanthropists of a religious and uplifting bent. They had six sons, and four daughters. Four of the sons predeceased them, their youngest, Thomas Storie, was a Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards who perished at Amiens in 1916.

But it is the reserved and retiring Sir William, who has left his mark on our city.



This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

16 comments:

hamilton said...

I would hazard a guess that it is the 'shy and retiring' rich people who are the most philanthropic with their money.

Kay L. Davies said...

The photograph of the angel is beautiful, Julie. The clouds are absolutely perfect!
I don't know what's going to happen, but I understand the emotional appeal of stepping off the earth and into heaven, accompanied by angels with trumpets.
K

Gemma Wiseman said...

Sir William accrued so many honours and yet I love how his family gave him equal family status here! His collection in the library is amazing!
Lovely photo of the two figurines! Lovely "breeze" effect of the garments! I was trying to work out whther the second figure is an angel? Tucked wings?

Peter said...

An interesting entry, leaves me wanting to reda more about them. Rookwood I guess?

VioletSky said...

I can just about feel the breeze blowing around the angels garments... what a beautiful stature.

and I see there is a Helen Craig Eaton, a co-incidence as I posted on the Eaton family in Canada who include a number of Craig Eatons!

Dianne said...

Beautifully captured resurection angel against that gorgeous blue sky.Julie ... Interesting to read Sir William was an excellent photographer!

Jim said...

Great sky as a backdrop for that sculpture. Fantastic shot.

Sondra said...

How nice it must be to be in the position to have way more than one needs...and be in the position to share it all....at least he did contribute to his community, which is much more than what most of the wealthy and famous do...Great Photos with your post

Ann said...

Love the clouds and the way they complement the angels perfectly.

diane b said...

Ann has said what I was going to say about the clouds.Its good to hear that he used his profits from tobacco to benefit the public.

Joe said...

Very clever angle of the angel against the sky. Great positioning.

The Paw Relations said...

Fantastic picture! I love the angles against the blue sky. Interesting the colouration after years of air pollution and rain.

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

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Oakland Daily Photo said...

The statue impresses me not only because it's graceful, but also because it achieves an incredible feat of balance.

CaT said...

yes, the clouds are so pretty, pointing somehow to the angels!
there are really not such elaborate sculpture in most cemeteries here. although i did find some... :)

Joan Elizabeth said...

You've got to be thankful for the Sir Williams of this world. I like rich people who leave lovely things behind for us to admire and enjoy.

Francisca said...

I harbour no hope of resurrection, but this statue of the Resurrection Angel is beautifully sculpted, and beautifully captured against your blue sky, Julie. Both the rich and the poor are with us to stay, yet it remains the character and actions of a person that determines their worth.