On second thoughts I don't think 18th century gravestone makers can have had pattern books, because if that had been the case the same designs would crop up all over the country- and they don't. What you get are local and regional styles. For instance, I can't think that crowded figure compositions of the kind I featured in yesterday's post occur anywhere outside the South East- and possibly not outside Kent.
Here's a gravestone featuring resurrection symbolism from Leicestershire- from the churchyard of All Saints, Blaby. It's very different- even though some of the elements are the same.
In Leicestershire they made their gravestones out of slate- which, if not eternal, weathers very much better than friable Kentish sandstone.
That's quite amazing. The radiating oval shape on the right - is it intended as a representation of God? It seems to spell out theo, if that's an omikron at the end; I would have thought theos would be the word?
It's very interesting. Have you seen such a thing before on gravestones? (I looked up the poem - it's from "The Grave" by Robert Blair. There's a couple of words missing, perhaps also for reason of limited space.)
Leicestershire's 18th c gravestones are beautifully designed, with elegant lettering, but this is the most elaborate I've come across. I took its picture because it was so out of the ordinary.
I noticed that an unusually large number of the stones in Blaby churchyard had verse epitaphs- and I was wondering- idly- whether the local schoolmaster or curate might have been a rhymester, but your discovery that this verse is from a published work puts a different complexion on things.