Luis de Granada, ‘Wensday night’, from Of Prayer and Meditation, fol.198r. London, 1612. Call #: STC 16908.5 copy 2. Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

The bedroom was not just the site of erotic intimacy, love, and battles of the sexes, but also of medical knowledge, dying, praying and being healed, in body or in soul. This image shows a woman lying in her sick-bed, with an hour-glass on the wall (back right) inscribing the knowledge of mortality into the scene. The maid is wiping away her tears, a physician is in attendance on the right, holding up a vial of fluid which could be urine, with a man on the left who may be a priest, holding up a drink, and a dog curled up and sleeping. The inscription makes it clear that she has reached the hour of her death. This image suggests the intimacy of death, and of the meditative habits associated with it, by locating it in the bedroom.

Click here to see another deathbed scene in the Law Court section.