Charles Cowling



Ever heard of Joss Nankoo? No, I hadn’t either. You have now. He’s a stonemason and lettercutter. Here at the GFG we revere lettercutters. And we love lovely human beings. Joss (above) is both. You can see that.

At around twice the price of machine-carved shiny Chinese granite you can buy something bespoke from Joss. You can go to his workshop and choose your stone — a nice piece of Welsh slate, a piece of Portland. You can work with him on the design and have him make something really personal. Unfortunately, this client-craftsman relationship doesn’t yield an awful lot of margin for an undertaker.

Find his website here. Here’s some of his stuff.


8 thoughts on “Art of stone

  1. Charles Cowling
    James Leedam

    Wonderful craft, beautiful materials, nice man, but… (here I go again) 600,000+ people die each year in the UK, globally 55.3 million people die each year – we can’t all have epic gravestones like these, much as we aspire to them. Yes they are much better than the awful run of the mill stuff, but there are just too many humans on the planet for this to continue.

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling

    A point well worth making, Jennifer. In order to protect their margin some FDs go to careful lengths to keep clients away from the mason so that they won’t find out. A lot of craftspeople, who struggle to make a living, and who could be of good service to the bereaved, suffer from being kept at arm’s length.

    I hadn’t realised til I spoke to Joss that black shiny marble has almost run out, and a lot of the stuff being imported has been stained. After 5 years or so it starts to turn grey.

    Charles Cowling
    1. Charles Cowling
      Jennifer Uzzell

      Totally true of course, and we have heard some real horror stories about this. However, I suspect it is not the case for most of the FDs who hang around these hallowed halls!
      Generally, we put clients into direct contact with masons and florists and stay out of the financial arrangements.

      Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Jennifer Uzzell

    Is it worth mentioning here, just for the record, that not every undertaker puts a mark up on memorial stone work?

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling

    Superb, whether the smooth pebble-shaped, more trad (Ibrahim Hussein) or the distinctively rugged (Robert William Bourne), Joss’s craftsmanship and creative imagination shine forth.

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    Kathryn Edwards


    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Lol Owen

    One word: proper.

    Charles Cowling

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