Being of a contrarian disposition, it seems that we Ragged Ramblers are destined always to be at odds with the mood of the moment. Thus, we are in the midst of the Christmas festival season, yet here we are, once again showcasing funerary images. In this instance we bring you the eighteenth century wax effigy of Sarah Hare, who died in April 1744. This startling apparition is housed behind glass in a mahogany cupboard within the Hare family chapel in the Holy Trinity Church at Stow Bardolph in the west of Norfolk.
With this being something of a 'warts and all' model, we assume that Sarah Hare wanted it to be true to life. There was something of a fashion for these funerary wax effigies during this period; however, this is the only one of its kind to survive other than those of far more famous luminaries, such as Admiral Nelson, currently on display within the museum at Westminster Abbey.
As her will (pictured above) testifies, Sarah was certainly dead-set (if you'll excuse the pun!) on leaving a likeness behind for future visitors to behold:
"I desire to have my face and hands made in wax with a piece of crimson satin thrown like a garment in a picture, hair upon my head, and put in a case of Mahogany with a glass before and fix'd up so near the place were my corps lyes."
|The Hare family chapel|
It really is worth making the trip out to see this very rare survivor in person. Standing face-to-face with Ms. Hare I find myself captivated. There she is perched, Miss Haversham-esque: plump and indomitable, with those unseeing blue eyes staring into the future - just as Sarah wished it to be.