Aesthetic and Black Forest influences


The popular styles which affected home decor and fashion also followed on to the final purchase- a gravestone.  At the end of the nineteenth century, many influences were at work to counter the previous generation of old Victorian tastes.  The Aesthetic Movement was afoot in England and Europe with its high regard for the hand made, natural, and back-to-Nature motifs of trees, flowers, and other flora and fauna.  The famous Swiss and German Black Forest and rustic hunting lodge influence was spotted in furnishings for the home- shelves and picture frames laden with carved walnut leaves and stag heads, antlers, rough bark and “twig” effects.  Art Nouveau (1880-1914) was sweeping the globe as well with fluid natural lines, sensuous curves, flowers and whimsical motifs. 

Monuments in Oak Grove reflect all of these trends, and especially noteworthy is the symbolic motif of the tree, twig, or tree cut off short, reflecting a life cut off in its prime. Particularly interesting is the enormous life-sized tree marker of Cook Borden, a relative of Lizzie Borden, who had, by coincidence, a lumber yard business in Fall River.  It is hard to know if the tree was purchased for that reason, or because it was stylish-but it remains one of the most fascinating memorial tributes in Oak Grove.





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