Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Bill of Mortality" Front Cover, London, 1665

Image above is the Gorey-esque front cover of the 1665 edition of London's "Bill of Mortality."

About "Bills of Mortality," from "The Free Dictionary":
The London Bills of Mortality were the main source of mortality statistics, designed to monitor deaths from the plague from the 1600s-1830s. They were used mainly as a way of warning about plague epidemics.

They began to be made in London after an outbreak of plague in 1592 (although there are a few earlier instances). From 1603, after another outbreak, they were made regularly on a weekly basis, with the view to giving authorities and inhabitants full information as to the increases or decreases in the number of deaths. The information was collected by Parish Clerks and published every week.

Image source: From the online article "The Renaissance Obsession with Mutability and Mortality," by Herman Asarnow, Ph.D., Professor of English Chair Department of English at the University of Portland, Oregon.


Jan said...

off topic, but have you seen these?

JE said...

This is wonderful! Thank you! Do you know any more about the exhibition it accompanied?

Jan said...

No, I just found them while Googling for "Principles of an aesthetics of death", a book I recently purchased. Glad you like them.

JE said...

What a wonderful sounding book! If you end up translating any of it, please send it my way. I would love to read it!