Managing Death

From the beginnings of industrialized society, designers have wrestled with ways of reconciling the anonymity of death with its deeply personal realities, as suggested by both James Gibbs’ anonymous but monumental tomb from his A Book of Architecture (1728), and the designs for colonial style headstones.  As death became institutionalized, designers struggled to find appropriate and meaningful funereal forms. The landscape of death, the sweet hereafter of the nineteenth century, went from being a sylvan affair associated with leisure to a chaste affair of abnegation.