Anon., Cabinet with embroidered panels. English, c. 1650-1674. FM: T.8-1945 © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

In everyday life, the bedroom was associated less with divine mysteries and more with worldly goods: it was a place for personal treasures to be kept. A cabinet such as this formed a room-within-the-room, and opened up to reveal yet more secret chambers within, a perfect place for storing precious gemstones, jewellery, and miniatures.

Here, again, the public and the private are in tension: such a beautifully-decorated item is meant to be seen. The content of the female artist’s embroidery-work demonstrates a concern with different kinds of knowledge: the five senses are shown, with Smell on the top, Hearing and Sight on the doors, and Touch and Taste on the sides. On the back is Orpheus with his Lyre, while on the central panel between the doors is Father Time with his hourglass and sword.