Shepherds Monument

Shepherd's Monument at Shugborough HallEngraving in the Marble Bass Relief of the ‘Shepherds Monument‘ at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire, England

The monument was commissioned in 1748 by Admiral George 1st Baron Anson. The engraving, is in fact, an inverted copy of Nicolas Poussin’s Les Bergers d’Arcadie, with an additional tomb depicted. The work was executed by Flemish sculptor Peter Scheemaker, well-known from his sculpture of William Shakespeare in Westminster Abbey (1740). He worked off a printed version of the painting by Bernard Picart The monument around the relief was designed by 18th century Astronomer and architect Thomas Wright. Wright had been asked by Anson to make various changes to the house when he moved in in 1748. He was a wellknown freemason whose home in Durham contained a ciphered version of his motto.

When Anson’s intimate friend and political patron Henry Pelham suddenly died in 1754 on the eve of the general elections, his funerary monument in the gardens of Esher Place was also adorned with a copy of The Shepherds of Arcadia and the inscription Et In Arcadia Ego.

At the bottom of the Shugborough monument a code is visible:

  D   OUOSVAVV   M

Shugborough codeAccording to this book by Stuart Nettleton it is based on a Genesis 50:25 which deals with the death of Joseph in Egypt. For reasons explained in his book the middle sequence needs to be inversed: D.V.V.A.V.S.O.U.O.M which stands for

Deus Visitabit Vos Asportate Vobiscum Sancta Ossa Upilio Occulto Maneo

or

God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry away the shepherd’s holy bones to remain concealed.

A more mundane explanantion is given by Margaret Countess of Lichfield, the current occupant of Shugborough Hall. She recounts a saying “out of your own sweet vail Alicia vanish vanity twixt Deity and man thou Sheperdess the way”

Location of Shugborough Hall

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2 thoughts on “Shepherds Monument

  1. DM = Dis manibus (dis manisbus) dm comes during rome imperium for death soldiers tomp inscriptions

    ouosvavv the vv = vice versa
    its like the image of nicolsa poussin
    the rest i dont know now..

    greats from ch

  2. PERHAPS THIS IS THE RESTING PLACE OF JACQUE DEMOLAY (SP) BONES. AS HE WAS THE NUMBER ONE SHEPHERD, HIS BONES WERE CARTED OFF IN THE NIGHT BY TEMPLARS SWIMMING WITH THEM IN THEIR MOUTH. SRY CAPS.

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