With Valentine’s Day approaching, readers may be interested in knowing about the tomb of Louise Flignot (1850-1916) and Léonce Evrard (1847-1919) in Laeken Cemetery, which bears testament to their eternal love. When his wife died in 1916, the heartbroken Léonce asked George Ernest de Larabie, an architect from Uccle, to build her sepulchure. Leoncé devised the “summer solstice” heart, which can be seen in the attached picture.
Every year, just before noon on 21 June, the sun shines through a specially-designed aperture in the roof to form a perfect heart. The statue of the weeping mourner points to where the heart will appear. It is said that when designing his “summer solstice” heart, Léonce was inspired by the cosmic elements of ancient Egyptian architecture. For instance, Wikipedia informs us that the “Great Temple of Abu Simnel is aligned so that twice a year the rising sun illuminates the statues of the gods in its innermost room”. When Léonce died in 1919, he was interred beside his wife: so they are united for eternity.Their tomb, also designed by Leoncé in collaboration with the architect, is very beautiful. It is a small classically-designed hexagonal tomb. It is situated very close to Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker” in Laeken cemetery.
Léonce Evrard was a marble-sculptor. His workshops were located here in Laeken, close to the church. Some of his work can be seen in St. Gilles’ town hall.
The painter Jean de la Hoese painted the portraits of Léonce Evrard and Louise Flignot. They are kept in the Museum of Fine Art in Rue de la Régence near the Sablon. Unfortunately, these portraits cannot be viewed, because the gallery where they are located has been closed to the public for more than 4 years now. This is a sculpture of Louise Flignot.
“What will survive of us is love” (Philip Larkin, from “An Arundel Tomb”)