Gravestone Head designs have always been popular in American history. Numerous styles of gravestone heads can be attributed to domestic, foreign, and religious influences. For explain, a typical ancient burial ground could contain plain style, death head, neoclassical, or angels head. Although there are a series of different gravestone head styles, the angel head’s gravestone is perhaps the most recognized.
The angel head design style first originated in the 1730. The winged angel gravestone head resembles a carefully crafted “winged cherubs” and it is believed to symbolize “the soul’s flight to heaven, emphasizing the blissful life everlasting that awaited the righteous.” These stones are the product of artistry. Each and every angel head gravestone embodies a unique persona that allows the craver’s personality to shine through. Many different cravers adopted different techniques and slight differences in their craft that distinguish every single angel head gravestone from one another. Arron Haskins of Bolton, Connecticut, and Garshom Bartlett of Bolton are among the many featured angel headstone carvers; however, there are many more recognized carvers that I have not mentioned.
Angel heads were soon replaced with a neoclassical style that swept through New England graveyards. These gravestones are often easily recognizable by their large Roman design. They stand tall among the other graves and indicate nobility and grandeur.
Our local graveyard, in Suffield, CT, is composed of many of the styles of gravestone heads including angel heads. The angel heads in this graveyard are distinguished by their craft in design and often possess the spirit of the carver. The carving styles are so unique that one can spot the works of a specific artist with ease. Some of the angel head gravestones possess a fearsome or somber expression, while the others possess lightened attitude towards death. This collection of angel head gravestones in our local graveyard is a reflection of many other New England graveyards throughout Northeast. It is important to also note the foundation for the angel head gravestone establishment. The angel head gravestone can be traced back to religious beliefs and influences. This notion is important to keep in mind while discussing the different styles of gravestone heads in the New England area.