Tomb of Frederick R Leyland, Brompton Cemetery


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, London, SW10


Ordnance survey map of Tomb of Frederick R Leyland, Brompton Cemetery
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Statutory Address:
Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, London, SW10

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Kensington and Chelsea (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Tomb chest of Frederick Richards Leyland, c.1892, by Edward Burne-Jones.

Reasons for Designation

* Architectural interest: a unique and beautiful tomb designed by one of the foremost artists of the Victorian era, Edward Burne-Jones, and his only work of funerary art * Historic interest: commemorating a prominent patron of the arts, Frederick Richards Leyland, who commissioned work from Dante Gabriel Rosetti and James McNeill Whistler * Group value: with other listed tombs nearby, in the Grade I-registered Brompton Cemetery.


Frederick Richards Leyland was a ship owner and art patron, born the son of a bookkeeper in Liverpool in 1831. He made his fortune running the Bibby Line of steamships, where he started working as an apprentice in 1844. In 1872 Leyland bought out his employers, renaming the company the Leyland Line, and later began transatlantic services. Leyland was a great patron of the arts, leasing and restoring Speke Hall in Liverpool, an important half-timbered Tudor house, from 1867 and, from 1877, a Robert Adam-designed house Woolton Hall. From 1876 he remodelled his London home, at 49 Prince's Gate, to further his dream of 'living the life of an old Venetian merchant in modern London'. Leyland collected Italian Renaissance paintings and also became the leading patron of the Pre-Raphaelite group of artists, including Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Edward Burne-Jones and James McNeill Whistler; the latter decorated the entrance hall and dining room of 49 Prince's Gate. This is the only tomb designed by Edward Burne-Jones, who was principally a painter and designer of stained glass.

Brompton Cemetery was one of the 'magnificent seven' privately-run burial grounds established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on London's overcrowded churchyards. It was laid out in 1839-1844 to designs by the architect Benjamin B Baud, who devised a classical landscape of axial drives and vistas with rond-points at the intersections marked by mausolea or ornamental planting, the latter devised by Isaac Finnemore with advice from J C Loudon. The main Ceremonial Way culminates in a dramatic architectural ensemble recalling Bernini's piazza in front of St Peter's in Rome, with flanking colonnades curving outwards to form a Great Circle, closed at its southern end in a domed Anglican chapel (the planned Catholic and Nonconformist chapels were omitted for financial reasons). The cemetery, never a commercial success, was compulsorily purchased by the General Board of Health in the early 1850s, and has remained in state ownership ever since.


A tall, slender Portland stone chest on short Romanesque piers with cushion capitals with a copper roof, worked to suggest fish scales. All four sides are decorated with low-relief floral scrolls in copper. Raised lettering in a band on one of the long sides reads: 'Here lies Frederick Richards Leyland sometime of Woolton Hall Liverpool / and XLIX Princes Gate Born September XXX MDCCCXXXI Died January IV MDCCCCII'; along the base of the tomb is bronze lettering commemorating Leyland's wife, who died in 1910.

The tomb is set on a stone plinth and bound by fine wrought iron railings with lilyhead finials to the corners.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: London 3 North West, (1991), pp. 470-471
Sheppard, FHW, Survey of London: Volume 41: Brompton, (1983), pp.247-252
Stevens Curl, J, The Victorian Celebration of Death, (1972), pp.112-129
Leyland, Frederick Richards (1831-1892), accessed from
English Heritage, Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England: Part 17, Greater London, (2003)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 13 Aug 2001
Reference: IOE01/05122/12
Rights: Copyright IoE Peter Karry. Source Historic England Archive
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