Field Guide

The Panel

The PANEL type of memorial ranks equally high in popularity in the present period with the Tablet type. Its predominating characteristics are that it is longer than it is high and not of any great thickness. Its origin is rather modern and brought about by two things, i.e., commercial economy and adaptability to existent plotting of cemetery lots. Regardless of its rather plebeian origin. many beautiful compositions exist in the Panel type.

The best proportions of the Panel type are that it should be a little higher in the cemetery overall than one-half of the width of the base across the front. Thus if the base is 6’-0" long, the overall height should be 3’-4", to 3'-6", depending on the kind of top used. The thickness of the base from the front to the back should always be one-third of its total length. thus a 6’-0" long base should be 2’-0" from front to back. A low base with wide, flat or almost flat wash gives the most pleasing effect. The base should never exceed 1’-0” in rise unless the example is of maximum Panel type dimensions or placed on a hillside, the slope requiring greater rise. The die can be from 0’-10''' to 1’-2’’ from the front to back. If greater thickness is given to the die an appeal of mass will be obtained and this should be avoided in the Panel type. Like the Tablet, the appeal of the Panel should be one of character and gracefulness rather than massiveness.

The maximum length of the base of the Panel type is 10’-0” and this should never be exceeded. If more space is available and a larger work is desired, some other type, such as the Sarcophagus should be chosen.

In planning a Panel, the effect of creating a composition the face view of which resembles a Sarcophagus should be studiously avoided. Under no circumstances should a Panel monument, except under Egyptian architecture, be given a cap. Invariably the application of a cap will give likeness to a Sarcophagus, and the limited thickness of the end view of the die and bases will then give the composition a disastrous or even a ridiculous combination.

The use of an apex top with the Panel type is prohibitive. The apex top comes from the Egyptian pyramid. The pyramid contains bodies above ground level. The inherence derived by any clear-thinking person at once is that the apex top in modern application belongs to the mausoleum or sarcophagus. The flat, oval, serpentine or step-up tops are well suited to Pane! application. In the standard example of Panel type illustrated, the step-up and serpentine top forms a pleasing effect. The ornamentation of the face of the die may be greatly varied and its repetition on the back should be determined by the visibility of the back due to its location.

Single or double bases may he used effectively with the Panel type. The application of urns may he employed on the base at either end or die or, occasionally on the forward extension of the base from the center of the face, they present a pleasing impression, though it will understood that this verges on the garden treatment and would be classified with the garden or combination type.

This article originally appeared in Design Hints for Memorial Craftsmen magazine, April 1930, Vol. 6, No. 10. It is the second in a series of nineteen articles on memorial types describing their origin, characteristics, and correct proportions. The series was written by Captain John K. Shawvan, Chicgao Branch Manager, Muldoon Monument Company. The fronting article can be read here.