The last two to three decades have seen the increasing use of portraits on headstones in the United Kingdom. Often in the form of a ceramic photo plaque, or bronze framed image, they give the memorial a much more personal feel.
The placing of photographs on headstones is a tradition that was first developed in other countries. It has become popular here though due to the relaxing of cemetery regulations. Churchyards, however, still tend not to allow photographs to be added to headstones.
Images on ceramic plates that have a kiln or gloss finish remain extremely durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions after being secured to the headstone. Whether it be a portrait photo or one of your loved one enjoying themselves, they are made to last. Modern software also allows for older, worn, photographs to be enhanced and for other people in them to be edited out if necessary.
Headstone portraits are usually accommodated in straightforward oval, rectangle or dome designs, but there are a range of other options. Heart shaped is one possibility, with a double heart if there is a couple to be commemorated on the gravestone. Examples of opulent designs include rope frames or scrolls, perhaps held by angels.
Strong plastic resin is another option for headstone portraits material. These are affixed to the memorial by dowels making them much harder to remove and less prone to vandalism.
You may wish to consider adding a special finish to your headstone portrait by having it placed in a bronze frame. Suitable for oval, rectangular and round shapes, they are attached to the plaque before being secured to the headstone. These bronze frames are hand finished and have a special coating to ensure they can withstand the cold, wet and sunlight. If you prefer, it is also possible to have them finished in a golden or chrome effect. The plaques do come in standard sizes, so be aware that your photo design will need to fit the frame, not the other way around.
Although fixing headstone portraits to the memorial is by far the most common option, you can have a photo and frame that is instead free standing at the base of the memorial.
An alternative to regular photographs could be a laser etched image of your loved one. Again, these remain durable to the elements, but it is important that you choose an excellent quality image due to the amount of detail etching can bring out. Etching is also something that is only suitable for certain materials and as the images it produces are grayscale, generally works best on black granite.
At Alberti, Lupton & Co we have Greater Mancchester’s largest selection of memorials on display at our premises. In addition we can show you a wide range of headstone portrait and bronze plaque options. If you are thinking of adding a headstone portrait to an existing memorial, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide assistance on what works best depending on the type of headstone you have.
Photo Ceramic Plaques and Bronze Frames