©Wellcome Library, London
 
 

The body of a man wrapped only in linen is entombed while, in the background, monks escort a coffin into a church. The scene contrasts the difference between a dignified and appropriate funeral and one in which the mourners have failed in their obligation to provide a decent burial. Until the 17th century, the poor were often buried without a coffin but wrapped only in a winding sheet which completely encased the body. In this instance, use of linen may have served to compensate for the poverty of burial since the illustration was made prior to the Acts of Burial in Woollen when the 5 fine would have deterred such an action.

Etching with engraving by Gabriel Spilberg (fl. 1590-1620) after Crispin de Passe, the elder (1564-1637).