Book report : The Magnificent Seven: London’s First Landscaped Cemeteries

I am massively disappointed in this book. The image of the cover makes it look like a lush coffee table book: I was imagining beautiful colour photographs, partnered with text that talked about the significance of the Magnificent Seven and what they'd inspired in cemetery design and management in the rest of London. I hoped for insight into the significance of *this seven* and how that might shape the future. I didn't get any of that.

The book consists of a chapter for each cemetery, with a standard introductory text to its location, layout and history, with a few pointers to exciting things to see and famous people in each cemetery: nothing that doesn't exist in plenty of other places. And there are a lot of black and white photos. I know some cemetery photographers swear by black and white and use nothing else: I'm (obviously) not one of them. If you're going to explain the sumptuous riches of these cemeteries, you need colour. And (sorry Messrs. Turpin and Knight but) the photography isn't really all that good (page 95 is particularly poor, but generally, verticals aren't vertical, horizontals aren't horizontal, and there are too many dull diagonal shots across monuments).

If you want a book on London's cemeteries, stick with Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons for comprehensiveness, and Darren Beech to fit in your pocket. And if you want photos, try Flickr.

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