Taken from the De Lisle Psalter, this illustration tells the moral story The Three Living and the Three Dead in which three figures, often aristocratic and flaunting their vitality, meet three corpses who warn them about the inevitability of death. The numerous variations of this story and their accompanying illustrations provide a stark contrast between the beauty of the living and the worm-eaten corpses of the deceased. Moral messages about the importance of living a virtuous life on Earth are typical amongst Psalters and Book of Hours.
View images of the entire manuscript via our Digitised Manuscripts website.
- Full title:
- Psalter (the 'De Lisle Psalter')
- c. 1308–40, England
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. Please consider cultural, religious & ethical sensitivities when re-using this material.
- Held by
- British Library
- Arundel MS 83
- 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.
- Article by:
- Eleanor Jackson
- Christianity, Devotional texts
Books of Hours were a popular feature of medieval Christianity in Europe. Dr Eleanor Jackson introduces their common features, uses and purposes, explaining features such as the Instruments of Christ’s Passion and the medieval veneration of saints.