Monday, May 28, 2012

grave post - Cutten


The two women on this most unusual monument in Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Toronto) represent Annie Rowena and her sister Gertrude Moncur who died within three months of each other.

It was carved in Laurentian pink granite in 1936 by German born sculptor Emanuel Hahn and features in a Graeme Gibson novel where the protagonist eats his lunch every day on a stone bench "before turning his amorous attentions to one or the other" (full disclosure: I have not actually read this book, I discovered this bit of trivia while researching. as a side note of interest, Graeme Gibson is the husband of Margaret Atwood)

Lionel Cutten, the husband of Annie Rowena, was born in 1871, the third of eight children of Walter Hoyt Cutten, a prominent barrister in Guelph Ontario. He was a year younger than second son Arthur (for whom his son on the far left of this bench was possibly named) who was a well known stock market speculator. He actually has a more interesting story, if less interesting gravesite where he is buried in Guelph, and I will have to visit that cemetery and tell of his life at a later date. (I am sure Delores is familiar with the name!)
But, back to Lionel. While still young and adventurous, he and Anthony Foster formed Cutten and Foster, importer of automobile parts, radios, and drapery manufacturers.
He married Annie Rowena Adams (born 1872) in 1902 and their one child Arthur was born in 1905. Arthur Forbes Cutten was the Chairman and CEO of Cutten Investments and died at home in 1992 at age 87. His second wife, Carolyn Beaver Wishart, died in October, 1998 at age 75. Neither one rests on or near this bench, but rather in the mausoleum.

The Arthur and Audrey Cutten Foundation is based in Toronto and some of the beneficiaries have been Sunnybrook and St Mike's Hospitals, as well as the CNIB, MS Society, War Amps Society, Kids Help Phone, among others.

In 1912, according to the Society section of The Toronto World, Mrs Lionel Cutton 135 Avenue Rd will receive the first Friday of every month during the season.

By the time Lionel Cutten died at his home of a heart attack he was living at 118 Forest Hill Rd.

See who else had died at Taphophile Tragics

38 comments:

  1. Yes, quite unusual! I love it that the bench was featured in a novel. Now THAT made me smile. :)

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    1. It almost made me want to seek out the book for that bit!

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  2. I wonder how those two ladies would have felt about being represented in their state of partial undress.

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    1. It says something about Lionel, but I dare not think about that too much!

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    2. Exactly my thoughts, Delores. Very disconcerting as I read the statues were representative of the residents beneath the bench.

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    3. I'm no prude, but I also find their half-naked state a little disconcerting... for a grave site.

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    4. yes, anonymous, scantily clad angels are one thing.....

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  3. It makes me want to give a shout out for sisterhood - "Together in life and in death."

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    1. I am guessing these two women must have been very close!
      I don't have a sister, soI can't relate.

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    1. it is definitely one of a kind (and rather un-Canadian!)

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  5. There is something quite poignant about the figure's' poses! They seem to be reaching for each other... 2 interpretations of Eurydice somehow...And the curved arm over the head seems to be warding off something... Very interesting post!

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    1. someone else, in a commentary about this monument, described the women's outstretched arms as pointing to the names below, but I don't quite see that - I think your observation is more apt.

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  6. That monument is awesome!! What a wonderful carving.
    Hugs
    SUeAnn

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    1. the carving is beautiful, but I would not like to be depicted in immortality this way, I don't think!

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  7. It's an impressive monument but for the fact that these barely clad women represent the real women buried there. What killed them, so close together in time?

    Another piece of trivia I learned here is that Margaret Atwood's husband is a writer... I've read almost all her works, yet have never even heard the name Graeme Gibson. How could that be?

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    1. I tried to find out a cause for death with no information. I thought the society pages might have given a clue, but could only find that one reference.

      as for Graeme Gibson, he is not nearly as world renown by the masses as his wife. he was one of the organizers for the Writer's Union and PEN. I have his Bedside Book of Birds, and it is a delight!

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    2. Hehe... I'd not thought of myself as part of "the masses"... at least not when it comes to reading literature... ;-)

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  8. What a fantastically beautiful monument. I can fully understand why someone would wish to write it into their novel.

    Herding Cats

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    1. It is in a prominent and inviting location.

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  9. A most unusual memorial, I wonder one or both of two sisters had a hand in its design?

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    1. if they did, it would make this a much more interesting family than the staid one that I imagined!

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  10. An interesting stone. Glad you had some of the backstory. Makes it even better!

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    1. for years I didn't have the story. I used to work near here and would often walk through and have my lunch in the cemetery.

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  11. What a beautiful stone, very elegant. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. some things just need to be shared!

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  12. Interesting post with great pix of this grand memorial.

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  13. i think its very special and pretty! but i also dont want to be represented halfnaked, i guess.. :)
    arent they supposed to represent angels who often are naked? so, the sisters that now became naked angels? hahaha..

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    1. they do look alike, don't they? I wonder how the sculptor knew what they looked like? maybe this is a representation of what they might look like after death?

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  14. Not sure I'd want to be immortalized half naked!

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  15. They sure scrub up well for aged women!! I have my money on the sisters themselves designing the bench. They weren't staid. Well SOMEBODY wasn't staid. It if a very elegant bench. The font is elegant. The dimensions. The composition. Even the stone itself is elegant.

    I think the stance is because the sisters know that in death they will be parted. Even though they die close together. They are straining to catch a last glimpse of each other, and reaching out for that last touch.

    It is a totally gorgeous bench.

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    1. it is very elegant, much more so than my photos show. but it was designed in the 1930s when elegance was still expected.

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  16. Your posts are always so interesting! Keep them coming!

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  17. What a beautiful tombstone!

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