Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Connecting the Present with the Past - Page 8

W Engraving by James Smillie, 1847. The Samuel Appleton Monument: Beautiful to Behold By Meg L. Winslow Curator of Historical Collections 6 e are delighted to announce the completed conservation of the Samuel Appleton Monument, located in the heart of the Cemetery in Lot 464 Woodbine Path. One of Mount Auburn’s thirty most significant monuments, the miniature marble temple sits on the crest of Cedar Hill framed by dark evergreens. From a distance, the 12-by-6-foot memorial appears much larger than its actual proportions, and the picturesque setting recalls a classical scene in a painting. A tiny door with lions’ heads is carved into the front of the memorial, and low-relief pilasters positioned along the exterior walls provide impressive architectural ornament. Above the door, the pediment holds a large winged hourglass ringed with a snake eating its tail, an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and eternity. The inscription reads: “SAMUEL APPLETON. DIED JULY 12, 1853. AGED 87 YEARS.” An ancient sepulchral lamp, symbol of wisdom and eternity, tops the roof. To obtain first choice for his lot location within Mount Auburn, Boston merchant and philanthropist Samuel Appleton (1766–1853) paid a premium of $100 at an auction held in November 1831. His choice was Cedar Hill, one of the seven hills of Mount Auburn. In 1834, Appleton, who had toured the classical sites of Europe, purchased the Grecian-style ornamental temple of Italian marble and had it shipped to Mount Auburn. On July 13, 1834, Appleton’s brother Nathan wrote to his son that “Uncle Sam’s monumental temple” had arrived by the brig Byron “and is very beautiful.” The press recorded it as the most expensive funerary monument at Mount Auburn and the “richest gem in the whole collection…which satisfies the eye, the imagination, and the taste” (August 15,1838, Columbian Centinel [Boston]). The richly-embellished Appleton Monument is considered one of the most important early monuments at Mount Auburn. As part of an initiative to document and research the Cemetery’s significant monument collection, the Appleton Monument was inspected in 2014 by conservators at Daedalus, Inc., and identified as high priority for treatment.