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Saville and Kelly's memorial to Tony Wilson

Graphic Design

Posted by Patrick Burgoyne, 22 October 2010, 14:53    Permalink    Comments (115)

In death as in life: Peter Saville and Ben Kelly's memorial to their friend and collaborator Anthony H Wilson is three years late, but it was worth the wait

Factory Records founder Anthony H Wilson died in August 2007. Just over three years later, a memorial headstone designed collaboratively by Wilson's long-term associates Peter Saville and Ben Kelly with Paul Barnes and Matt Robertson, was unveiled in The Southern Cemetery in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester.

The black granite headstone carries a quote, chosen by Wilson's family, from The Manchester Man, the 1876 novel by Mrs G Linnaeus Banks (aka Isabella Varley Banks), the story of one Jabez Clegg and his life in Victorian Manchester. The quote is set in Rotis.

Typography by Matt Robertson. Photographs: Jan Chlebik.

This story has been updated with additional information since first posted.

 

115 Comments

The typography is beautiful.
Steve
2010-10-22 16:00:44


Don't get me wrong it's lovely and moving. But 3 years?
Richard Michie
2010-10-22 16:00:54


Quite perfect and beautiful in so many ways.
Simon Coxon
2010-10-22 16:02:31


Typeface?
James Greenfield
2010-10-22 16:03:54


We did a project with Saville a couple of years ago. He said there some 'typographic opportunities' which is the best euphemism for 'client amends' we've ever had. Lovely piece of work above. Very fitting to the Manchester legend.
Gareth Langley
2010-10-22 16:05:36


@ James

I'm just waiting for a few more details - including confirmation of the typeface. Will add to the post once I hear
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2010-10-22 16:07:22


Understated and beautiful. No FAC number?
Daniel
2010-10-22 16:08:30


Beautiful.
"But if you could just see the beauty,
These things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction,
This is my one lucky prize." (Joy Division)
lee pennington
2010-10-22 16:16:39


I believe that it took 3 years down to long discussions with family members. As with all things that surround Peter Saville he wanted it to be 'just so', please reference the expression that Jan Tschichold makes here: http://designmuseum.org/media/item/4799/-1/101_4Lg.jpg
Tom Skipp
2010-10-22 16:20:41


@Daniel

His casket has the FAC number 501 and if I remember his estate vowed that would be the last thing catalogued
John
2010-10-22 16:21:44


I love the delay. I doubt Wilson would have expected anything else.
What Daniel said… a FAC number could have been a nice touch.
Tom Muller
2010-10-22 16:23:44


They could at least have fitted it with a mechanism whereby everything surrounding it disappears up it's own arse too.
Shaun
2010-10-22 16:59:00


Nice!
Paul
2010-10-22 17:19:00


It's Rotis Serif. And I like it.
Matthew Jarsky
2010-10-22 17:33:15


Peter Saville. Three years. That would be about right. And the result speaks for itself.
Ari Sherman
2010-10-22 18:33:26


Have we all seen Paul Rand's headstone?
http://allisonwilton.blogspot.com/2008/07/iconic-paul-rand-was-one-of-most.html
Sam Mallett
2010-10-22 18:53:19


This the most perfect thing I've ever seen... So sad I missed it when I visited Manchester
Francisca Sanzana
2010-10-22 19:18:29


new order esque. beautiful!

!
KEVIN GRIMWOOD
2010-10-22 19:20:41


The lateness definitely in keeping. Looks beautiful. He needed something that suited his ego.
Cait
2010-10-22 19:46:28


Lovely as it is.
It should have been in Industrial orange and royal air force blue. If you catch my drift.
Chris keegan
2010-10-23 00:36:31


When Anthony died, another broadcaster he dated some years previously, when they were both stars of local TV, described how he would drive his Jag home, sharing a big spliff with with each other, and a back seat full of flowers for company, down Princess Road, which runs alongside the Cemetery. Made me laugh. First class bloke and an outstanding Northerner.

Anthony's legacy is mocked a little by those clowns who made 24 Hour Party People, however the people who were there know the invaluable contribution to Manchester Anthony made.
Anthony
2010-10-23 07:20:08


FAC 616
st albans
2010-10-23 10:45:46


Love the "to the memory of E" gravestone in the background ;)
dave
2010-10-23 13:02:19


Suave
Glenn Kitson
2010-10-23 13:29:02


Very lovely memorial.
Elizabeth
2010-10-23 13:54:57


The similarity to FAC004 demonstrates what everyone knows, Saville's best work is now 30 years old.

This looks like the business card of the creative director of a provincial design agency.
Nigel
2010-10-23 15:51:09


Why no full stops?
Makes the typesetting look poor!
Love the layout though!
Darren scott
2010-10-23 21:35:02


Wow! I live (and work) just across the road from the Southern Cemetary and may pop across Barlow Moor Road for an ambiguous designer gawp... I'm not a big fan of Rotis (I think it's prissy and pretentious) but I think it's a fair choice for Tony Wilson's gravestone! Unfortunately, judging by the photographs, the typeface hasn't quite survived being carved in stone at such a small letter size (particularly for the quote at the bottom)... although the ghastly, preening letter "e" still comes through, like a ghostly wail...
Simon Palmer
2010-10-24 00:31:13


typeface...? ha ha ha ha ha

from the colloseum in nelson all the way to the heights of the ha´c

typeface...? ha ha ha ha ha

the disconnect is staggering, but that's graphic designers for you
john d
2010-10-24 08:29:24


i’ve just had a wander around southern cemetery. couldn’t find it. has anyone been and know where it is? thanks x
howie
2010-10-24 14:07:21


When I go I certainly don't want my gravestone in bloody Rotis.
Robbie Pickering
2010-10-24 23:39:07


Is it tacky to want a similar headstone for myself?
Retro
2010-10-25 00:12:46


As with Durutti Column : I love the delay.
Hesketh Pearson
2010-10-25 10:05:45


A beautiful piece of work. Tasteful, traditional whilst also contemporary. Well done! A befitting memorial to a legend of pop culture.
Sam R
2010-10-25 10:39:29


Beautiful. Three years delay makes it even more worthwhile. Will Peter Saville be late for his own funeral?
darren hoggett
2010-10-25 10:42:49


A beautiful piece of work. Tasteful, traditional whilst also contemporary. Well done! A befitting memorial to a legend of pop culture.
Sam R
2010-10-25 10:45:16


hahaha
john
2010-10-25 10:51:33


As considered as the type is, the application looks sand-blasted, or possibly machine engraved, rather than hand-carved. This usually produces a boxed indent (i.e. flat bottom with vertical sides) rather than the V indentation of hand-carving. Such techniques often make for short-lived quality, as the boxed indent is prone to chipping and weathering at a much faster rate than the sloped sides of hand-carving.
MLA
2010-10-25 10:56:08


MLA, you must lead an exciting life eh? All machine guns, Aston Martins and fit blonds....
Mark Garner
2010-10-25 14:35:26


It took 4 of them to come up with this
Alex
2010-10-25 15:18:45


Some really great typography there.
Andrei Scărlătescu
2010-10-25 17:13:55


3 year??!! hope didn't have to pay for it. could have came up with better #$%^ in 3 days.
Michael
2010-10-25 17:23:11


In fifty years this headstone will be unreadable. The text is too small, too shallow, and carved into the stone without consideration about how it will wear.

Headstones are meant to last centuries. Immediate prettiness is a secondary concern. This is a classic example of the failure of form over function.
Foo
2010-10-25 17:50:04


It's certainly individual, but as others have said, it won't last. Plus 3 years is almost embarrassingly long for something this simple - although the client was clearly in no rush...
dan7am
2010-10-25 21:12:33


it might get stolen anyway.... but it`s beautiful, katja and fotoreportage23-in search of ian curtis (the book is dedicated to mr. tony wilson)
katjaruge
2010-10-25 21:40:26


The fact that it took Peter Saville 3 years to do so is kind of brilliant. He was famously notorious for missing deadlines, and often delivered gig posters after the gig had already occured. I think Tony would have found it fitting.
Dustin Zahn
2010-10-25 21:44:34


"cultural catalyst" on a headstone??
n
2010-10-25 23:26:57


Some of these comments are hard to fathom. It's clean, classy and brilliant. Why dissect it so much?
Wasted on the West Coast
2010-10-26 03:50:11


Reminds me a little bit of this tombstone in Kensal Green Cemetery.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/75077866@N00/5116694452/
Brian
2010-10-26 04:19:47


Plenty of space for someone spray the obligatory "wanker" on it.
RIP Tony
Andrew
2010-10-26 08:22:47


Tony Wilson's fingerprints are still on the best bands around today.

I've just decided what I want my memorial stone to look like. Which is a bit strange as a 24-year-old I guess...
Rudie
2010-10-26 09:04:04


Striking. Like all Factory-related artwork, it hits you straight away. Love the idea of minimalism. Think it's fair to say that Anthony H Wilson would have approved. I don't agree with any of the negative comments. I don't know art at all, but it does stand out amongst the other gravestones aas it is so different. Bit like seeing one of the black and white Joy Division videos by Anton for the first time.
Darren Stuart
2010-10-26 09:22:47


Tony Wilson's coffin was given a Factory catalogue number - FAC 501
Jeff Knowles
2010-10-26 09:50:16


3 years is more than a bit of a wait. What else was he up to - hope he didnt spend the whole 3 years just on this.
birmingham designer
2010-10-26 10:47:46


The type has shades of Rotis, which was 'Factory'.
CraigS
2010-10-26 11:32:45


Three years is not a long time to put up a headstone. Most graves sit unmarked for at least a year to let the ground settle, and this has clearly taken more work than the standard version.

Also, this headstone could be around for hundreds of years, what's an extra few months at this stage?

A beautiful tribute.
Robin
2010-10-26 11:35:15


What are the proportions of the stone, is it 2.21:1 like the monolith in 2001?
sam
2010-10-26 12:36:50


Robin '...and this has clearly taken more work than the standard version'

Really? Has it? How do you know? Just because it looks 'designed'?

For us designers it might well be a nice drop of layout, (loving the er, black space), but come on folks, let's stop the gratuitous fawning simply because Saville was involved with it.
Mac
2010-10-26 14:03:14


B&Q do a kitchen work top just like this. Looks great with their lime woodgrain effect cupboards.
Saul
2010-10-26 14:32:42


Hesketh Pearson: "As with Durutti Column : I love the delay"

QOTD
rparmar
2010-10-26 16:00:41


Going there next week. Has anyone a “map” or description where about it is. Thanx a lot.
FUaOslo
2010-10-26 22:07:21


Beautiful, precise type & layout. Stands out by being discreet. Very appropriate in my view.
Flavio Mester
2010-10-26 22:50:00


My goodness it's beautiful!
I am without speech.

Reminds me of the monolith in 2001 Space Odyssey.
Ivana
2010-10-27 00:53:55


Love It, great font an' all, but I'll hang on for the 12 inch to come out.
Joe Fazak
2010-10-27 11:34:27


Shame they couldn't add Fac502
Gary
2010-10-27 14:17:40


If it had a Factory number on it, someone would steal it.
Besides, Wilson himself wasn't a Factory product.
You can bet they seriously considered putting one one there though...
Mr Splodge
2010-10-27 16:29:04


Beautiful work for a great man.

@CraigS: We drew a custom version of Rotis for Factory. We used to call it "Factis" around the studio.
Brett Wickens
2010-10-27 17:02:54


FAC 999

A shame they didn't give it a factory records release number.
Mal Gibb
2010-10-28 17:12:02


With regard to comments concerning a FAC # - Wilson's funereal casket has a solid silver plate that reads

Anthony H. Wilson

FAC 501

The burial plot for those wishing to pay respect is through the main cemetary gates and first path on the left.
nathan mcgough
2010-10-29 11:57:21


It took a year for the ground to settle and 6 months for the stone to be shipped from India... That means it only took Peter a year and a half. Type is laser etched and apparently will last forever.
Tom Skipp
2010-10-29 11:59:11


It's a fitting tribute in my opinion. It seems a bit vulgar scoring 'cool points' making slating Wilson or Saville.

But I suppose Tony / Anthony / H / Wilson would revel in the debate.
David
2010-10-29 12:52:26


Stands out Stands Proud! Much like the man. Well Done Petex Hooky
hooky
2010-10-29 17:13:00


I agree with Hooky`s comment but I didn`t Know Tony was black and shiny. Shaun makes a good point. I don`t believe in death so I`m not visiting any graves. Lindsay Reade`s book is the best memorial so far Tony was actually a better(conceptual) artist than Picasso or Warhol or Hirst . Respect from all of us in The Royal Family & the Poor.
Arthur
2010-10-30 19:48:57


Stunning tribute, stands out from the crowd around it, a bit like Tony
AndyB
2010-11-01 09:59:56


none more black
Jon Anthony
2010-11-01 16:23:43


Going there next week. Has anyone a “map” or description where about it is. Thanx a lot.
Teisines paslaugos
2010-11-04 11:18:00


Isn't it ROTIS for the Type?
peneloppe
2010-11-04 14:18:00


looks like the iPhone 5
chris
2010-11-05 09:02:20


nice to see good modern design influencing this part of culture too.
bluepigcreative
2010-11-11 09:49:04


Quite wonderful. Just like the great man himself.
Graeme Park
2010-11-11 12:09:26


dude if my tombstone looks like that i want you to dig me up and kill me again
anton
2010-11-11 17:07:58


My first thought is 2001: A Space Odyssey - but then that obelisk did represent intelligence so fitting - after that then, all it is missing is the Pulsar image from Unknown Pleasures.
NYMike
2010-11-11 21:17:01


Tony would love it, especially coming three years late. He would have appreciated that most. It must have the last fac #! Hooky, can't you see to that? Yes it's Rotis. Here's to you, Tony!
Chris Mathan
2010-11-12 12:25:55


Perfectly understated.
Kathy
2010-11-12 22:08:22


Available at the Monocle shop.
LGR
2010-11-16 18:04:22


HAHAHHA ^ top one
Mister Aitch
2010-11-23 12:39:00


Awful monument to a great man. This sand blasted black granite stone is everything that is wrong with modern memorial masonry. It wont last hundreds of years, it will last thousands. The grave sites are normally leased for 99 years. This stone will end its life being used as a paving stone or in a wall. Much better to use a local stone which will erode naturally as this mans family die off and memories fade.
Eggnostriva
2010-12-06 17:40:00


If you should visit the cemetery it's interesting to note the location and that the late, great Anthony H has blagged himself a ring-side seat at Southern. Even in death, love him, hate him, can't ignore him.I think his legacy lives on not just in the music but in the psyche of many mancunians of a certain age. Growing up in 70s/80's Manchester was pretty grim & he was always there-with a sweep of the fringe, coming out with some outrageous comments. Manchester made me who I am-Wilson made me proud to say where I was from. I'd have chosen millstone grit but I love it. It fits.
tinkyink
2010-12-15 23:29:31


Absolutely wonderful, almost a mystical monolith - dare I say. Design in death, wild - fits design in life - nicely considered!
Trypcil
2010-12-20 02:36:00


Lovely, and quite fitting for Tony Wilson that it's suitably late.
Malcolm
2011-01-02 15:13:07


Hmmmmm... I was walking through house of fraiser the other day.
http://img28.imageshack.us/i/hofg.jpg/
Harry
2011-01-02 19:43:02


It took three years to come up with this egotistical boredom?
kenneth
2011-02-03 21:07:19


2001: A Space Odyssey will never look the same again.
The obelisk in the film shares the same design as the headstone.
The inspirational obelisk appears in Kubrick's film every time mankind makes an evolutionary step forward.
I'd say that's a good monument to a catalyst.
Gary McMahon
2011-02-20 20:37:52


Negative comments pathetic. Critique pathetic. Headstone wonderful. Man legend. Manchester proud.
Mark Nolan
2011-03-06 14:30:55


“My friend, he took his final breath. Now I know the perfect kiss is the kiss of death.” (New Order).
Colin Griffiths
2011-03-10 15:01:00


Anthony H isn't alone in the cemetery-there's Rob Gretton fairly close by and Martin Hannett across the way-Manchester City Council has a map on their website but locations are: Tony Wilson Plot B, Grave 118
Rob Gretton Plot G, Grave 278-not far from Wilson & Martin Hannett Plot FF, Grave 713- Hannett is across the way in the "new" part while Rob & Tony are in the part of the cemetery between Nell Lane & Barlow Moor Road. Something not quite right about the stillness & silence of these former whirlwinds of creativiity.
tinkyink
2011-03-12 21:13:12


More memorials should reflect contemporary typography. That way, in future, we'll be able to identify the year of someone's passing by the design trend reflected on the headstone, as well as the date engraved upon it. I'm writing this tongue-in-cheek, of course. I really like this.
Dave Fowler
2011-03-25 14:48:54


DIE NEUE TYPOGRAPHIE
Argiri Bourtsos
2011-08-03 22:11:58


Peter Savile was late for everything - remember the tickets for the first Hac gig, amusingly recreated in '24 Hour Party People'? Some things never change (and thus are changeless).

Savile had Tony Wilson's eternity to get the headstone finished from August 2007, so three years is nothing in the scheme of things.

RIP the now forever-late Tony Wilson.
David T Palmer
2011-08-28 20:33:27


Even in death, love him, detest him, can't disregard him.I believe his legacy inhabits on not just in the melodies but in the psyche of numerous Mancunians of a certain age. Growing up in 70s/80's Manchester was attractive bleak & he was habitually there-with a clear of the edge, approaching out with some outrageous comments. Manchester made me who I am-Wilson made me pleased to state where I was from.
Cygnis
2011-09-27 09:05:44


Marvellous. What a wonderful quotation and a fatntstaic piece of art from Mr. Peter Saville. I wonder just how ashamed the late Mr. A.H.W. would feel if he knew Manchesster Council were about to overturn their own decision to refuse planning permission for ugly flats at Castlefield , in a conservation zone, so that peel developments could realise their dream of megolomania. Very sad. sad to lose a Manchester icon and sad to think Manchester’s been left to the vultures.
agus
2012-01-13 06:47:02


The headstone for architect Mies Van Der Rohe is equally impressive:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mies_van_der_Rohe_headstone.JPG
Paul
2012-01-20 17:32:39


Total art.

Love it.
JenBerMol
2012-02-21 21:01:52


Even in death, love him, detest him, can't disregard him.I believe his legacy inhabits on not just in the melodies but in the psyche of numerous Mancunians of a certain age. Growing up in 70s/80's Manchester was attractive bleak & he was habitually there-with a clear of the edge, approaching out with some outrageous comments. Manchester made me who I am-Wilson made me pleased to state where I was from.
Acai Beeren
2012-08-30 12:29:13


Marvellous. What a wonderful quotation and a fatntstaic piece of art from Mr. Peter Saville. I wonder just how ashamed the late Mr. A.H.W. would feel if he knew Manchesster Council were about to overturn their own decision to refuse planning permission for ugly flats at Castlefield , in a conservation zone, so that peel developments could realise their dream of megolomania. Very sad. sad to lose a Manchester icon and sad to think Manchester’s been left to the vultures. Felix
Felix
2012-10-26 11:01:13


Love the simplicity and minimal clean approach.
Charlie Jones
2012-10-27 20:25:26


The design is simple but beautiful and is a tribute to the fallen.
Charlie
2013-02-07 12:24:19


That is a beautifully designed headstone, simple and very elegant.
Web Design Bimringham
2013-02-20 20:02:29


The attribution for the quote says G Linneaus Banks. G is for George. But the book "The Manchester Man" was by Mrs G Linneaus Banks. She was called Isabella. George was her husband but didn't write the book. Is this misattribution or is it unacceptable for Mr Wilson to have a Manchester quote by a woman?
Anne
2013-05-02 20:56:50


"It took three years to come up with this egotistical boredom?"



Why egotistical? Too much thought and effort for you?



"They could at least have fitted it with a mechanism whereby everything surrounding it disappears up it's own arse too."



You call it pretentious, but if you really consider it, it is less ornate and grandiose than a lot of the traditional headstones people are used to seeing.



"MLA, you must lead an exciting life eh? All machine guns, Aston Martins and fit blonds...."



Yes, there are people out there who enjoy and appreciate typography. Maybe your idea of an exciting life is a little too 'fictional hollywood cliche' no?



"3 year??!! hope didn't have to pay for it. could have came up with better #$%^ in 3 days."

"Plus 3 years is almost embarrassingly long for something this simple"



That's a very juvenile and uninformed way of looking at the whole design process. Haven't you ever heard the age old saying 'less is more'?

it's awesome, deal with it
2013-07-09 13:34:00


Such a classy and tidy design. This goes to prove that minimalism often beats anything too complicated.
James
2013-08-21 11:45:41


Beautiful design. Simplicity is a beauty. Less is more.
Thomas
2013-08-21 19:23:21


Does anyone know where to get the florist frog at the base of the headstone holding the white lillies?
Jayne Z
2013-09-18 15:31:38


I think it's stunning and a fitting tribute
Emma
2013-11-26 11:07:44


Beautiful, really like it!
Shiney Robbins
2014-04-14 13:14:53


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