A headstone commemorating godfather of punk Malcolm McLaren has been revealed in Highgate Cemetery.

It was installed this week in secrecy at his grave in the eastern part of the cemetery, 100 yards from the memorial to Karl Marx.

McLaren, who managed the Sex Pistols, died in 2010 aged 64 of asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.

His new gravestone, hewn from black granite, includes a death mask cast in bronze by Nick Reynolds, an acclaimed sculptor who is the son of Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds. (And also known as Alabama 3's harmonica player Harpo Strangelove.)

It also features the epitaph: “Better a spectacular failure, than a benign success” and a shield bearing McLaren’s initials.

Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive of the 175-year-old Highgate Cemetery, said the headstone was a fitting addition to the Gothic masterpieces already in place.

He said: “We like to have monuments that are individual, that celebrate people, ones that are commissioned and are not off the peg. This is a really special monument and no other has a death mask like this. It is so much nicer than these terrible tacky things that you get out of catalogues.”

Dr Dungavell added: “It will be interesting to see if it becomes a place of homage.”

McLaren, a pioneer of the punk movement, was buried three years ago to the strains of Sid Vicious singing My Way, with a coffin slogan: “Too fast to live, too young to die.”