Three of the angels at the corner of the sarcophagus have Beatitudes inscribed on their collars: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God: Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God. The fourth has a quotation from Psalm 30: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
They bear different messages, but all are from the same model, unlike the marble angels at the corners of Henry de Triqueti's cenotaph in the Albert Memorial Chapel, each of which is individually characterised. The idea for the angels in both cases seems to have originated with the Princess Royal, but she would have known of Marochetti's copious output of such imaginary beings. Not all had been celestial, or even benign. His first display of the "romantic" tendency was a Rebel Angel, shown at the Paris Salon of 1831. The winged figure on the tomb of the Marchese San Tommaso, of 1834, commands silence with a gesture seemingly taken from E.M. Falconet's very pagan 'Threatening Love'. The winged figures on the Scutari obelisk are 'angels of victory', their Christian nature being downplayed because of the Turkish context, even though they are in a protestant cemetery. These specimens in the Royal Mausoleum are definitely both Christian and benign.
They are masterly specimens of casting, carried out almost certainly in Marochetti's own foundry in Sydney Mews, off the Fulham Road. The photo used here shows one of them with the smooth but not shiny finish and the glowing patina which they had until just over thirty years ago. In an early watercolour, designed to convey the effect of the tomb in Gruner's mausoleum, they appear as though gilded, and it is possible that originally their patination was of a light and somewhat golden hue. They may have darkened with age to some degree, but early photographs show that they were never gilt. They are now unfortunately very dark and shiny, after being given an ill-advised coat of varnish around 1987, immediately after this photograph was taken.