Ebenezer Price and His Carvings Right Here in Pennington
To add to my passion and evolution for my love of cemetery exploration, I am just getting to know the carvers of these stones. Thanks, again, to my friends at Wise Owl Workshops, their study and excitement over the carvers of yesterday, and today, has rubbed off on me! Let me read all I can on them!
So while on a short graphic design assignment right here in the local town of Pennington, what's a girl to do on a lunch break? Well of course – visit the cemetery next door!! Pennington Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Of course living local to here, I have visited this cemetery before. But this time, with greater knowledge and history in my brain. I personally, with exuberant excitement, discovered a few of the older, colonial stones here, signed by Ebenezer Price!
Let me back up a step. If you look towards the bottom of a colonial gravestone (mind you, in my explorations, I have seen modern signatures or the name of monument company carved into modern work) you might see a set of initials, or even a whole name. This is the carver of the stone, just as an artist would sign their painting. Aside from the furniture makers, blacksmiths, silversmiths, potters and glass blowers, the gravestone carver also left their mark in the colonial artistic archives. Decorative art and folk art can be found on all of these mediums of the 1600s and 1700s. Especially in the gravestones of the North East! Oh how I would love to explore the New England cemeteries! Ebenezer Price was a noteworthy and prolific carver of colonial eighteenth century New Jersey. He lived from 1728 to 1788. His work often features the embossed cherubs or soul effigies at the top of the stone with a scalloped shell shape and column-type carving up and down each side of the stone. Just look at these stones – look at the perfection of the typefaces, and the faces, and eyes and details of the hair – all carved by hand and chisel!! Most can't even write on paper as perfect as these. Also found in this cemetery were a couple of stones carved by his apprentices – Abner Stewart and Jonathan Acken. Now that I know more about Mr. Price and these apprentices, I must go back and look at these stones to see if they were carved during Price's life, under his artistic wing, or after his death.
I just had to share this exciting find! Oh what some of the passers by on Main Street must have thought at the site of me pacing excitedly back and forth amongst these tombstones. With this knowledge, I hope you now take a closer look at some of these older tombstones to see who created these amazing masters works of art.