Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Taphophile Tragics

Ambush at Slingersfontein

George Allman Griffen, who was the first man to volunteer for the Light Horse was the first of the NSW Contingent to die in South Africa on 16 January 1900 during a Boer ambush at Slingersfontein. His death had such an impact in Australia at a time when the country was celebrating its new found Federation, a committee of his friends and supporters commissioned Achille Simonetti to create a marble tablet in his memory. Simonetti was the most fashionable sculptor in Sydney at the time, having modelled busts and statues of many Sydney luminaries. Simonetti, who died before the tablet was completed, arranged for sculptor James White, the first sculptor to win Sydney's prestigious Wynne Prize, to complete the work. The tablet, inscribed incorrectly to George Griffin, was erected in the Vestibule in Sydney Town Hall, where it can be seen today.

This is an entry in Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.


Nicola Carpenter said...

Interesting post and what a beautiful memorial.

Beneath Thy Feet

Julie said...

Golly, I must have walked past that so many times!!

Simonetti obviously knew his own passing was rapidly approaching, then, to be able to hand over the incomplete tablet.

I love Sydney Town Hall. It has such opulence.

Anonymous said...

Nice post -- and very interesting!

hamilton said...

This is a beautiful memorial. I really like the relief on it.
The Boer War was the first of the wars that involved the Empire and I can well imagine the devastating effect that first death must have been.