The early modern study was a private space that was dedicated to the gathering, organisation, and creation of knowledge. Books were naturally its most crucial furnishing, and their physical arrangement created a categorisation of ideas. In the age before public libraries, private collections of books were highly prized powerhouses of knowledge; they also represented an enormous financial investment. The mental laboratory of the study was additionally furnished with numerous other tools: pens, inkstands, candles, spectacles, scientific instruments, devotional objects and hour glasses are all commonly seen in depictions of a scholar at work. As well as being a serious workplace for the committed intellectual, the furnishing of a study became a fashionable part of a noble home; and luxurious, high-status versions of the scholar’s humble attributes were owned by wealthy patrons who wanted to assume the pose of a humanist.