Memorial to Stephen Crossfield, Jr.

American Schoolcirca 1790

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati, United States

The navette shape of this small memorial signifies tears. The design of an urn on a plinth under the branches of a weeping willow was common and frequently requested by grieving families. Chopped hair makes up the ground and decorates the urn while pieces of incised metal add another visual layer. An inscription dedicates the piece to Stephen Crossfield, Jr.

Stephen came from a well-to-do family. His father Stephen Crossfield was a successful shipbuilder who married Mary Kerbyle in 1758. The family Bible records Stephen’s birth, “July 10, 1765, was born our beloved son Stephen and baptized by Rev. John Oglevie in St. George’s Chapel. Witnesses Mr. Andrew Gautier and Elizabeth his wife.” Stephen’s death is memorialized five entries later, “May 4, 1790 My beloved son Stephen departed this life aged 24 years and 10 months.” He was buried in his uncle Andrew Gautier’s family vault at Trinity Church in New York City.

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  • Title: Memorial to Stephen Crossfield, Jr.
  • Creator: American School
  • Date Created: circa 1790
  • Physical Dimensions: 1 7/16 x 7/8 in. (3.7 x 2.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann III
  • Accession Number: 2004.556
  • Medium: grisaille on ivory with hair, ivory and metal