Queen’s sculptor designs Highgate Cemetery’s first mausoleum for 100 years

The first mausoleum to be built in the grounds of Highgate Cemetery for 100 years would be designed in part by the sculptor to the Queen.

The recently bereaved wife of a devoutly Christian businessman has put forward plans for a grand marble and limestone crypt.

Designs for the mausoleum were drawn up by architects in collaboration with renowned sculptor in ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland, Professor Alexander Stoddart.

The widow, who wishes to remain anonymous, wants the neoclassical sepulchre to be a modern “work of art”, which will fit in with the character of the Grade I-listed West Cemetery’s many Victorian tombs.

Ian Dungavell, chief executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, said: “It really is the most exciting thing to happen here for ages, and it is quite an unusual thing for a British cemetery.”

Prof Stoddart, who renovated the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, will sculpt a large marble angel for the crypt.

It will be the focal point of the new mausoleum and will overlook a small space in the centre of the tomb for “private devotion”.

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Access to the new mausoleum, near the entrance of the West Cemetery, will be by invitation only.

However, the widow has said she wants to open up the mausoleum to the public on certain days.

Plans for the monument have been lodged with Camden Council.

It will need to secure planning permission before it can be built.

The plans have already won the support of conservation groups including the Highgate Society and Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee, according to architects.

Mausoleums were at the peak of popularity during the Victorian times, when most of the monuments in the 175-year-old cemetery were built.

However, interest in building them waned with the turn of the 20th century.

Dr Dungavell said: “I would much prefer people spent their money on a beautiful mausoleum than a flash car or speedboat.

“A lot of people are going to be able to see this.”

The West Cemetery is the resting place of poet Christina Rossetti, murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko and Charles Dickens’ wife Catherine Dickens.