"Transporting the Dead"

Dublin Core


"Transporting the Dead"


This image depicts individuals from the latter portion of the 17th century carrying coffins to their final resting place.


Early and simple coffins typically did not have handles. The coffin was carried by family members and/or friends to its final resting place on wooden planks. Coffin hardware really began to take off during the latter portion of the eighteenth-century and throughout the nineteenth-century. These pieces of coffin hardware typically reflected the popular design styles of the period, all the while adding to the expense of the coffin, as well as the appearance of dignity, and distinction of rank for the deceased and their family members. Along with this distinction of rank, comes changing perceptions of death and its romanticization and commercialization in the nineteenth-century. However, this coffin, presumably made around 1747, is too early to fit into this trend that dominated the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Therefore, the request for “handles and letters” to be included in the coffin’s construction probably act as a way to display status rather than a romanticization or commercialization of death and coffin making.


Photo taken from:
Litten, Julian . "Chapter 4: Lapped in Lead, Encased in Oak: The Coffin." In The English Way of Death: The Common Funeral Since 1450, 85-118. Robert Hale Limited, 2002.


Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, WPAMC Summer Institute 2017




Alexandra Rosenberg


1665 Transporting the Dead.jpg



“"Transporting the Dead",” DelaWARES.org, accessed June 24, 2019, http://delawares.org/items/show/195.