This is one of a pair of prints, one depicting a man and the
other a woman in death and in life. They were produced by
unidentified printmakers working for the London publishers Bowles
& Carver in the mid-18th century.
This impression has old hand-colouring in gouache. On the right,
is the man as a living nobleman in a Stowe- or Stourhead-like
landscape, with still-life objects symbolising vain pleasures.
Among these are a family tree, representing 'Pedigree', an
admission ticket to a masquerade at the Pantheon, dice, a pack of
cards, golf or hockey sticks and balls, a volume of 'the Rambler',
a lottery ticket, an invitation from Lord Bauble, and a curved set
of blocks with the letter E in bas relief in the upper row and the
letter O in the lower row.
On the left is the man as a skeleton holding a gravedigger's
spade, in a graveyard with monumental tombs and some bones. The sky
on the death-side is stormy grey, on the life-side, azure.
Inscribed on the tomb is "The wages of sin is death" from St Paul's
Epistle to the Romans, and other quotations from the books of Job,
I Peter, Psalms, and Epistle to the Hebrews, and from the
contemporary poets Alexander Pope and Abraham Cowley.