19 June 2016

John Stuart Mill's Grave in Avignon (84)

The philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) died in Avignon of erysipelas, and was buried in St-Véran cemetery with his wife.

A number of other writers are buried here, such as Pierre Boulle (Bridge over the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes), and the prominent Provençal poet Théodore Aubanel. But a clear sign at the entrance says no photography. That's in a public cemetery, and out of the (literally) hundreds of cemeteries I've previously visited (throughout the States, France, the UK, etc) I have never come across such an interdiction. How can it be possible to impose this, and what possible reason can there be for it? Needless to say, the above images come from an anonymous private source whose location I wouldn't reveal even under threat of torture.


David Bingham said...

I have asked to stop taking photographs in East London Cemetery in Plaistow - a privately owned cemetery and this was once out of the several visits I've made there. Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, which has some amazing memorials, is even worse - apparently if you take photos there and post them on the net you are very likely to receive a message from them asking you to remove them along with a threat of legal action if you don't comply; it's said they regularly search sites like flickr looking for offenders. Brookwood is privately owned but I don't understand the logic of the prohibition.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

In an internet age this makes no sense at all, and is completely unworkable. Obviously I was being a little hyperbolic: how does Philippe Landru get away with it, for instance: https://www.landrucimetieres.fr/spip/spip.php?article2608 ? Over the years I've spoken to several cemetery concierges and guides (who give their services completely free of charge and have helped us look around cemeteries literally for hours) and they have nothing but respect for the huge work Landru has done. I was very politely invited to return to St-Véran after phoning the director and/or archivist the following day, but life is too short and the cemetery is hellishly difficult to find: no, not again.