An Immortelle

Immortelles – the name means everlasting – were grave ornaments. They were in use mainly in the Victorian and Edwardian era.

Delicate china flowers are mounted on a base. This is covered with a glass dome to make it weather proof and finally a wire cage houses that.

An Immortelle - a grave ornament - at Market Lavington Museum

We believe the immortelle we have is probably Edwardian. It was in the churchyard until the 1930s.

None remain in the churchyards of Market Lavington or Easterton, but our curator recently found some in a Welsh churchyard.

Immortelles at Eglwys Llanfinhangel

These items do not seem to be well documented. Any extra information would be well received.


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14 Responses to “An Immortelle”

  1. ljanehenderson Says:

    Brecknock museum have three very similar ones. The curator is Nigel Blackamore

  2. Nigel Blackamore Says:

    Actually we have 4 in the collection, 3 from Llywel Churchyard, the other unprovenanced. Sadly very little info to go with them and we are missing the protective metal cloche you illustrate. If I come up with anything I’ll drop you a line and tweet it @brecknockmuseum

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      Thanks Nigel. Am I right in thinking they are particularly Welsh?



      • Nigel Blackamore Says:

        To be honest, I don’t know – they don’t appear to have a particularly Welsh content – white doves etc. Maybe its to do with smaller communities and better preservation/graveyards less disturbed and better survival rates- If I come across anything I will let you know.
        All best


  3. Item 4 beginning ideas | Textiles 3 learning log Says:

    […] also reminded me of grave immortelles something I had come across previously during some research. Long lasting porcelain flower displays […]

  4. Carol McCouat Says:

    I recently went to a church by my cousins and took pictures of these domed flowers they are so beautiful. Church near Lampeter.

  5. Gil Says:

    I know of two welsh churchyards which have them, never seen them anywhere else.

  6. Enid Says:

    I have seen them in many of the chapel graveyards around Lampeter.

  7. welshhat Says:

    There are remains of at least 32 immortelles in the Llanbadarn Road municipal cemetery, all but one under hemispherical glass domes (but only 14 of the domes are complete). I cannot say that they are unique to Wales, but the custom of placing flowers either after the funeral and on certain dates after it, and also on Palm Sunday (or occasionally on Easter Sunday) was unique to Wales until the creation of ‘garden’ cemeteries on the edges of towns in England from the 1830s. see my web site:

  8. welshhat Says:

    Forgot to say that Llanbadarn Road cemetery is between Aberystwyth and Llanbadarn Fawr.

  9. welshhat Says:

    I’ve just seen 28 immortelles in Strata Florida church grave yard but none at Tregaron, Lampeter and Llanrhystud churchyards.

  10. David Alexander Says:

    We have two of these on our family grave in Northern Ireland.One could do with a new metal cage if anyone knows anyone who could make one

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