Design for the Gravestone of Max Eberstadt

Design for the Gravestone of Max Eberstadt , c. 1891

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Artist:Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Birmingham, England, 1833 - 1898

Associated:Max Eberstadt

charcoal and chalk on paper stretched and framed

Max Eberstadt was born in 1844 and died in January 1891.
The donor, Katherine (Katie) Lewis was the daughter of Elizabeth Eberstadt, a German Jew from Mannheim, who married in 1867 as his second wife the distinguished Victorian solicitor, George (later Sir George) Lewis (1833-1911). Max was Elizabeth's brother and therefore Katie's uncle.
Edward Burne-Jones was a very close friend of the Lewises, especially of Elizabeth and she must have asked him to design the gravestone for her brother. Katie donated this drawing to Aberdeen Art Gallery in 1931, the year her mother died.

The fact that the gravestone is inscribed in English and Hebrew (not German
and Hebrew) might be a reflection of the burial location – Willesden cemetery, London.
The principal motif of the design is the cut branch in the roundel and as a well known symbol of death, especially premature death, it is especially fitting here as Max died young, at the age of 46. The image is famously used in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus by the Chorus at the end of the play, just after Faustus has been
carried off to hell by devils:
Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough
That sometime grew within this learned man.
(Scene XIV, lines 127-129)

Presented in 1931 by Miss Katherine Lewis.
Out of copyright
Overall: Height: 91.3 cm, Width: 213.3 cm Frame: Height: 97.5 cm, Width: 219.5 cm
Acc. No. ABDAG003283


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