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Carved in Stone: The Artistry of Early New England Gravestones Hardcover – November 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819573019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819573018
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The artistry of these gravestones is remarkable...For all the temptation to use the data from these cemeteries for demography, this remains a study of art..." Christopher Cumo, Connecticut History, Spring 2013

"...a revealing and fascinating essay...magnificent tribute...beautiful book..." "While Carved in Stone deals with death at its core, it is never morbid." Kathryn Franklin, Portland Book Review

“These solid chunks of the past are strange and wonderful, irresistible and repellent, sign posts to our past as well as our future. There's never a crowd. Above ground that is. If a case can be made for visiting these lonely, eerie, open air exhibits, two brothers, Thomas and William Gilson, have made it in their new book.”—David Holahan, Hartford Courant

“Thomas Gilson’s photographs are beautiful, haunting, revelatory at times frightening.”—Alan Bisbort, Waterbury Republican-American

“Carved in Stone...is an eerie book, one that quietly works on you.” —Jan Gardener, Boston Globe

“The Gilson brothers—photographer Thomas and writer William—have captured the essence of these somber, touching memorials. … An excellent look at a fascinating subject and a fine introduction to the field.” —Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library Journal

Review

"Carved in Stone is a thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary on New England gravestone art of the pre-industrial era--a welcome addition to the New England gravestone studies literature." (Bob Drinkwater, past president of the Association for Gravestone Studies )

Carved in Stone, the Artistry of Early New England Gravestones book is a Finalist for 2012 Book of the Year Award - ForeWord Reviews (Adult Nonfiction Regional).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dell User7 on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This beautiful book is a treasure of early New England gravestone art. With superb photos by Thomas Gilson, an excellent essay by William Gilson, and historical quotes, the book definitively recreates the unique world of graveyard carvings of the early European settlers in New England. I loved the unique style of the book, and learned so much about the subject in an entertaining way. Written by New England natives, the Gilson brothers, "Carved in Stone" is such a high-quality book that you will want to display it on your cocktail table or in your home library to look at again and again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Abby Cassell on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautiful and unique book by Thomas and William Gilson is both informative and entertaining. The carvings of early New England gravestones photographed by Thomas Gilson are thoughtfully selected and beautifully crafted. Accompanied by historical quotations, the photographs provide the reader a unique and facinating look into the culture and sensibility of the early colonial period. The narrative by William Gilson is personally engaging and heartfelt. Carved in Stone impresses the reader as a labor of love. It is a book to return to and enjoy over and over again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Oriana Korol on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Not your typical coffee table book--a book full of gravestone imagery--but once you open it, it's hard to put down. As a child, I loved cemeteries; my curiosity and appreciation piqued by the many lives that walked this earth before. What moved them? What terrified them? What pieces of wisdom did they leave like bread crumbs? The Gilson brothers offer a deeper look into these questions. Their curiosity led them to a particularly peculiar culture, one perhaps more deeply engaged with death than ours: New England Colonists. In their engravings and words, the colonists reveal a dark humor (which as a fan of Six Feet Under and Donnie Darko appeals to me greatly), an acceptance of the cycle of life (offering many lessons for our culture), and a deep fear of ending up on the wrong side of eternity (indeed, a fear which remains quite titillating!). This book affirms the deep peace and reflection of cemeteries. It reminds me to look closer at everything and that beauty arises in the most unexpected of places. It is an invitation to be fully alive. Thank you to the Gilsons! And may you all enjoy the book as much as I!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Collins on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Carved in Stone brings together an artist's eye and a poet's sensibility. Thomas Gilson's photos of early New England funerary art take us to the tactile surface of these stones, some of them time-worn, others still sharply incised, some displaying the formal iconography of the day, others seeming to 21st century eyes quirky, even perversely humorous, and yet again others suggesting a deep sympathy for the bereaved, as though the carver had shared their personal loss. The photographer guides us as we focus on one detail, then another, sometimes stepping back to view a figure and read a text, sometimes drawing nearer to examine an elegant design. Like his brother's photos, William Gilson's introductory essay is honest, perceptive, and personal, leading us into a cultural landscape that is remote to us, yet strangely familiar. Carved in Stone provides a fresh, clear-eyed glimpse into traditional--very traditional--Anglo-American art and religious expression.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Hart on August 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book is well written with excellent photos. An good resource on tombstone symbols from the Massachusetts and Boston area cemeteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Minda Powers Douglas on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Carved in Stone" is a lovely book. It's a beautiful hardcover book filled with strong, stately images from early New England gravestones. No surprise there! But what makes this book's images stand out is how they almost "pop" off the pages. A number books of featuring these kinds of old stones offer more "clinical" images. Don't get me wrong, I haven't come across a book of gravestones that haven't been interesting. I just really like these photos!

Another thing about this book that I like is that it is personal. Rather than an informational-only approach, there are quotes from journals and other writings of the times of the stones. There is also William Gilson's introductory essay. He writes, "The original New England Puritans, those of the first two or three generations, were half in love with death. You can't focus so intently on something, obsess about it with such flexed attention, without some part of you desiring it." I think this is something all taphophiles can relate to on some level. We contemplate death on a more regular basis because we surround ourselves with it. Perhaps we aren't necessarily thinking of our own deaths, but we do have an acute awareness not everyone has.
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