Mason Mausoleum


Thomas F. Mason
1815–1899

Thomas F. Mason’s tidy little Classical Revival mausoleum is a showcase for bas-relief panels. There is a cartouche in the gable above the door. Smooth masonry on the front of the mausoleum is contrasted by rusticated masonry on the sides. Two bas-relief bronze panels, sculpted by Oscar Lenz in 1899, flank the entrance. The panels are surrounded by egg-and-dart molding. The double doors are embellished with Victorian-era geometric floral designs. The panel on the left shows an angel taking the inventory of Thomas Mason’s life (which appears to have been in the insurance business) and is inscribed with the Latin words Ab Initio, Ad Finem (“from beginning to end”). The panel on the right depicts an angel with a horn, presumably Gabriel, awaiting the results of the inventory. The panel is inscribed with the Latin phrase Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (“thus passes away the glory of the world”). The phrase is from the “Service of the Pope’s Enthronement.” At the moment it is uttered, a handful of flax is burned to indicate the transient nature of earthly grandeur. A similar rite is said to have been used in the triumphal processions of the Roman Republic. In other words, “you can’t take it with you.”
Text and photo © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”The Woodlawn Cemetery” street=”East 233rd Street” city=”Bronx” state=”New York” zip=”10470″]

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