15th-century Book of Hours


Illustrations of Hell acted as constant reminders for the medieval population that their behaviour on Earth would determine the destination of their soul. Frequently very graphic, this image shows people being captured, tortured and eaten by monsters and demons. Often pictured within devotional books, like this Book of Hours, the Church sent a clear message of what Hell looked like and that it could be avoided through by being a good Christian.

Full title:
Book of Hours
c. 1407, Paris
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 29433

Full catalogue details

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Article by:
Alixe Bovey

Images of the afterlife dominate illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculptures and literature in the Middle Ages. Dr Alixe Bovey examines how ideas of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory impacted on everday life.

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