If you ever come across a gravestone decorated with a clay plaque, you have probably found a Harmer terracotta.
Dating from Georgian times, these delightful terracotta bas-reliefs were the idea of Jonathon Harmer, potter and son of a monumental mason from Heathfield, East Sussex.
The gravestone was cut to the shape of the design allowing the terracotta to be raised, then cemented in place with a secret mortar. It is still a secret today.
Designs ranged from vases, fruit, cherubs, people and urns, while colours varied from reds to creams. Local clay from Heathfield was always used.
Harmer produced these lovely pieces of art from 1799 until 1819, sadly passing away in 1839. His legacy though, lives on in numerous graveyards throughout Sussex and Kent.
Please leave where you find them.
The plaque pictured is at All Saints Church near Herstmonceux Castle.