Richard Ansdell – (1815 – 1885) [Plot 30]

Richard Ansdell was a British painter of animals and genre scenes. Ansdell was born on 11 May 1815 in Liverpool (then in Lancashire), the son of Thomas Griffiths Ansdell, a ships’ pulley block maker at Liverpool docks and Anne Jackson. His father died young and Richard was briefly educated at The Liverpool Blue Coat school for orphans. He had a natural talent for art from an early age, and after leaving school worked as an apprentice to a silhouette painter in Chatham in Kent, and also spent time as a sign writer with a travelling circus in the Netherlands.

He first exhibited at the Liverpool Academy in 1835, becoming the President in 1845.  His animal and sporting subjects proved to be popular and he soon attracted wealthy patrons. His first exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, was in 1840, with two paintings called “Grouse Shooting” and “A Galloway Farm”. (this painting was bought by the Marquis of Bute and can still be seen at Mount Stewart on the Isle of Bute) This was followed, in 1841 by “The Earl of Sefton and Party Returning from Hunting”, in 1842 “The Death of Sir William Lambton at the Battle of Marston Moor“, (Harris Museum, Preston) in 1843 “The Death” and in 1844 “Mary Queen of Scots returning from the Chase to Stirling Castle”. He went on to exhibit pictures every year at the Academy until 1885 (149 canvases in all). In 1846 he exhibited his first picture, “A Drover’s Halt” at the British Institution, London, and went on to show 30 canvases there.

In June 1841, he married Maria Romer – the couple went on to have 11 children. In 1847 the family left Lancashire to live in Kensington in London.  They also had a house called Collingwood Tower at Farnborough and a large Scottish lodge (Moy Lodge) on the banks of Loch Laggan.

In 1850, Ansdell sometimes collaborated on pictures with Thomas Creswick RA, who specialised in landscapes (e.g.: “The South Downs”, “England’s Day in the Country” etc.). He also worked with William Powell Frith RA (“The Keeper’s Daughter”) and John Phillip RA, with whom he travelled to Spain in 1856 and painted a series of Spanish subjects – “The Water Carrier”, “The Road to Seville”, (Fylde Borough Council’s Art Collection) “The Spanish Shepherd” etc. He returned to Spain alone the following year to paint more pictures there.

He was also known for his magnificent and large depictions of important gatherings, depicting each person in the crowd individually.  “The Country Meet of the Royal Agricultural Society” (Royal Agricultural Society, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire) and “The Waterloo Cup” (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) to name a couple.  One of his masterpieces “The Fight for the Standard at the Battle of Waterloo” can be seen today in The Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle.

In 1855, Andsell was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition for his works, “The Wolf Slayer” and “Turning the Drove”. He also won the “Heywood Medal” three times for his work at the Manchester Royal Institution. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1861 and a Royal Academician (RA) in 1870.

His first family home was at Lytham St Anne’s, in the borough of Fylde, where a district, “Ansdell”, is named after him. He is the only English artist to have been honoured in this way.

Ansdell died at “Collingwood Tower” at Farnborough in Hampshire on 20 April 1885.  He was buried at Brookwood Cemetery Grave No 98363 Plot 30 together with his wife, Maria and two of their children – Harry Blair Ansdell and Rosalie Leech.  Rosalie Leech is also buried with her husband William Leech and their son, Guy Ansdell Leech.  William Leech was a Lancashire mill owner – his mill was featured in Mary Gaskell’s “North and South” (Mary Gaskell was a family friend).  William Leech was a relative to Beatrix Potter.

Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA (1950 – 2016)

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA was an Iraqi-British architect. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She received the UKs most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, she was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture, and in 2015 she became the first and only woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Buried at Brookwood Cemetery – New Muslim High Ground

Zdenka Pokorna (1905-2007) [Czechoslovakian Plot]

Zdenka Pokorna (1905-2007) [Czechoslovakian Plot]

Zdenka Pokorna was a Czechoslovakian teacher and an unswerving patriot. She was hailed on her 90th birthday as the “living conscience of the century” by the Czechoslovakian Government.

She challenged the Habsburg, Nazi and Soviet occupations of her homeland and was forced into exile in 1948. She spent the rest of her long life in Britain from where she continued her campaigning.

Her obituary from The Times may be read here.

The ashes of Zdenka Pokorna were buried in the Czechoslovakian “annexe” of Brookwood Cemetery on Sunday 28 October 2007.

William Frend De Morgan (1839-1917) & Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919)

DESCRIPTION: the memorial comprises a tall neo-Grec stele. Over a rectangular base with inscription is a relief, designed by Evelyn de Morgan, showing an angel with outstretched arms, pleading with a female figure of Death, with inverted torch, who turns her back. Above is an eared pediment, within which is a pair of hearts. The inscription described William as ‘Artist – Potter – Inventor – Novelist’ and closes ‘Sorrow is only of the earth / The life of the spirit is joy’.

HISTORY: William is celebrated as a Chelsea-based potter who resurrected the art of lusterware and was much influenced by Middle eastern design; he later worked with William Morris and had a factory in Fulham. His wife was a figural painter, strongly influenced (like Burne-Jones) by the C15 Florentine painters: this influence is also sensed in this memorial, which is a late example of such ‘Pe-Raphaelite twilight’ works. One of a number of memorials at Brookwood to prominent artists of their day. The attribution of the monument to Sir George Frampton is perhaps open to question.


Robert Knox (1791-1862) [Plot 108]

Image Dr Brian ParsonsDr Knox was an anatomist and ethnologist. He is one of several famous people buried at Brookwood who have an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Knox was a distinguished anatomical lecturer, and was lecturer in Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh between 1825-41. Knox was also a leading teacher at Barclay’s School of Anatomy which attracted record levels of students. He was an enthusiast of practical dissection and the anatomy schools required a steady supply of “subjects” for these classes to attract students.

In 1827-28 William Burke and William Hare began to supply Dr Knox with suitable “subjects” for his classes. When their crimes were discovered during 1828, Knox was implicated, but was not asked to give evidence. Hare turned King’s evidence and Burke was subsequently hanged and dissected. Knox was popularly considered just as guilty. Riots took placenear to his house and he found it increasingly difficult to find work in Edinburgh.

Knox moved to London in 1842 and was appointed pathological anatomist at the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital at Brompton.

The death mask of William Burke, who was executed in Edinburgh on 28 January 1829, is shown in the image above. William Hare’s life mask is on the right. Photograph: Paul Kelbie/Observer

Dr Knox was buried in plot 100. The original memorial was a flat ledger stone which may or may not have included an inscription.The small granite block on top of this ledger stone was placed there in 1966 by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The following links give further information about Dr Knox:

Essay on the life of Dr Knox by I. MacLaren from the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (2000), 45(6), 392-397
Essay on the life of “Robert Knox, Anatomist, Scientist and Martyr” by Andrew Currie from the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1932), 26(1), 39-46
Wikipedia entry for D

Ramadan Guney (1932-2006) [Plot M3]

Ramadan Huseyin Guney was born in Cyprus in 1932. After leaving school, he served in the British army and police on the island. In 1958 he emigrated to Britain and set up a music publishing business which continues to sell recordings of ethnic music to the Turkish communities in London. He helped found and run the first Turkish Cypriot Mosque in London, and worked on a variety of social and community projects, arising from his work with the UK Turkish Islamic Centre.

Mr Guney’s ownership of the cemetery was initially contentious but ultimately successful. He cleared some areas of trees and undergrowth, partly to correct the problem of a rising water table (which was causing areas to flood), and partly to create new burial space. Brookwood was never designed to be the dense woodland it reverted to in places due to the years of neglect by previous owners, who had sold off land under the terms of the 1975 Brookwood Cemetery Act. Profits from these land sales were meant to be reserved for restoration purposes, but this never happened.

Mr Guney’s maintenance programme was a slow and frustrating process, and was undertaken without any external funding support whatsoever. It included the restoration of the Muslim and Catholic sections (where the majority of burials are now taking place), whilst working on key areas of the wider cemetery as funding and staffing levels allowed. He also undertook the digitization of the burial records.

Mr Guney’s vision for Brookwood Cemetery was to recreate its beautiful park-like setting. The highlight of Mr Guney’s ownership was undoubtedly the special celebration he arranged for the 150th anniversary of the cemetery. This took place on 5th September 2004. Attended by over 100 guests from around the world, it was a truly multicultural celebration. At the same time Mr Guney launched his own restoration fund for the cemetery he owned, admired and loved.

His vision remains unfinished. Two major projects now left in the planning stages include the restoration of the lake in the Glades of Remembrance, and the restoration of selected mausoleums. His 1994 comment that “Brookwood Cemetery is safe … as long as I live” is as true now as it was then.

Mr Guney had 2 sons and 4 daughters with Suheyla, who passed away in 1992. All of his children survive him. Following a service at his Mosque in London, Mr Guney was buried in a vault at Brookwood on the evening of Friday 10th November.