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Elgin Cathedral Graveyard. Mural monument, John Geddes and Isobel McKean, 1687. Digital image of C 23408/32

SC 801665

Description Elgin Cathedral Graveyard. Mural monument, John Geddes and Isobel McKean, 1687. Digital image of C 23408/32

Collection Betty Willsher

Catalogue Number SC 801665

Category On-line Digital Images

Copy of C 23408/32

Scope and Content Mural monument of John Geddes and Issobel McKean, Cathedral Graveyard, North College Street, Elgin, Moray This mural monument features the tools of the trade of a glover/leather-worker (above the inscription). These are a glove with a flared cuff and a pair of shears. Pilasters at the side of the tomb feature capitals in the form of winged souls (symbols of the spirit ascending to Heaven after death). The shape of the elaborate pediment is defined by a curling scroll with a worn inscription. Within the pediment can be seen a winged hourglass (symbol of the brevity of mortal life), a skull and crossed bones, and a ribbon inscribed 'MEMENTO MORI' (remember you must die). The long poem on this stone is found on several other Scottish monuments. Its message can be summarised in modern words as: 'the world is like a city with many streets, where everyone must meet the same merchant, Death. If you could 'buy' life, then the poor could not afford to live, and the rich would never have to die'. Many Scottish gravestones carry inventive and thoughtful poems intended to challenge the passer-by to lead a more virtuous life. This mural (wall-mounted) monument commemorates John Geddes, Issobel Mckean 'and their relations'. It is dated 1687, and is inscribed: 'HEAR IS THE BURIAL PLACE/APPOINTED FOR JOHN/GEDDES IN ELGIN/AND ISSOBELL/McKEAN HIS SPOUSE/& THEIR RELATIONS/THIS WORLD IS A CITIE/FULL OF STREETS &/DEATH IS THE MERCAT/THAT ALL MEN MEETS/IF LYFE WERE A THING/THAT MONIE COULD/BUY THE POOR COULD/NOT LIVE & THE RICH/WOULD NOT DIE'. Source: RCAHMS contribution to SCRAN.


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