Sunday 8 November 2020

C Is For ...


Print of the Capital C engraving from Libellus Novus Elementorum Latinorum by Jeremias Falck after Johann Christian Bierpfaf, c. 1650, Rijksmuseum Collection
... is for

Cabinet of Curiosities

A place to display one's collection of wonders - scientific, artistic or natural: Antiquities and Natural History will feature strongly. And anything, really, that in the eye of their beholder is beautiful, eccentric or enticingly peculiar. The Germans have a lovely word for it: Wunderkammer

The contents needn't be in any particular order, or labelled with museo-gallerio precision; just tucked away tidily. 

Traditionally, Cabinets/Kammern are, of course, rooms:

C16th Veronese pharmacist, Francesco Calzolari
Shows how to arrange a roomful of wonders

If your collection doesn't run yet to commissioning a fitted room, a cupboard can suffice:

Domenico Remps, circa 1690
Shows how to sort your cupboard of delights

And if your collection gets a bit mad, you can turn your whole house into your Cabinet of Curiosities:

Mason Jackson 1864 engraving of the Sepulchral Chamber in
Sir John Soane's House

But if you don't have any physical manifestations of your Obsessions, merely images of them, you can do what I have done, Dear Reader, and set aside a corner of your Blog for your own Cabinet of Curiosities, where (with an eye on Copyright) you can stuff all manner of Wonders.

Image Credits: 1: Rijksmuseum; 2-4: Wikimedia Commons


  1. C is for CONTESSA and I think I rank right up there with a CASA FULL OF THOSE ARTIFACTS!

    I see you read THE TIME SEEKERS!!!BY one of my MOST ADORED BLOG READERS!
    YOU have been BUST in these times of COVID......yet another C!

    AMERICA, has decided..........THANK GOODNESS we will be on a NEW PATH SOON if the other doesn't BLOW US UP BEFORE!

    This whole POST MADE ME SMILE!
    NOW, I must say ADO as I am off to my first ZOOM PARTY!!!!!!!


  2. I have a collection of curiosities, but why have I acquired them? I am not sure that I know the answer to that. Mine are on various shelves
    and tucked away under glass domes. I must now take a look at what you have set aside in that corner of your blog.

  3. I have taken a look at your cabinet and see that you have the most exquisite collection of curiosities, if only mine was as good. I have seen that wonderful gold Minoan pectoral pendant from Malia, consisting of two bees depositing a drop of honey in their honeycomb.
    I actually wrote a post about how it was discovered after I saw it in Crete.

  4. Contessa: You are indeed a Grande-C. Thank you for your compliment! The sandals shouldn't feel uncomfortable as they're only worn after you've carked it - they're for Egyptian mummies to wear in their tombs! ... DAS has written an excellent book for young-at-heart readers - you may not know that it inspired my own creativity such that I won a book voucher from an online bookseller for the review I left therein! ... A zoom party? I hope there is dancing! Have fun! xx

    Rosemary: I suspect we're all bower birds to some degree, as much as minimalists may urge us otherwise. Domed treasures sound delightful! And are easier to dust, haha! ... Yes, the Malian bees are exquisite and are rightly found all over the interwebs, kept under many an admirer's proverbial glass.

  5. I'm afraid our house is one big cabinet of curiosities (some call it clutter). I even encourage the grandsons to have their own boxes of curiosities. I just hate throwing anything away that I find either beautiful or interesting.

  6. Cro: Sounds like you and Sir John Soane are cut from the same cloth. One man's clutter is another's potential museum. So glad you are encouraging the grandsons in the right direction. From boxes of beetles do enriched lives spring!

  7. Our house is full of curiosities .... too many and a dust haters nightmare 😂🤣😂
    When visiting any stately home here in the U.K, they always had a room or part of the house reserved for their curiosities to show visitors how wealthy they were ..... all of mine are worth zilch 😂🤣😂 Have been to Sir John Soane’s house .... it’s amazing .... and it’s free !!!! XXXX

  8. I can't imagine a home without curiosities. They do tell a story and always add intrigue.

  9. Jackie: At first blush, I might have said that it would only be expected that someone with your artistic leanings would naturally have a curio-filled home, but upon reflection, it's fair to say that even the dullest sort of Victorian character had a wild collection of beetles, shells and bones! It's just a matter of do you dust or not? Those early cabinets of curiosities were great places for socialising, too. Come over and see my new Stuff was rather more enriching than Come over and watch some Telly at mine, haha ...SJSH was top of the List for the London holiday that didn't happen. You had to book a time slot, it was so popular!

  10. Susan: Hello and welcome to these pages! Yes, curiosa and curiosa, to misquote Lewis Carroll.

  11. Reminds me of my studies of the studiolo...

  12. Rachel: Yes, your studiolo post reminded me it was time for this draft-languisher to make its appearance. I appreciated the nudge!

  13. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY has a room similar to these, all trompe d'oeil marquetry. It is a marvel. And much easier to dust!

  14. ToF: Ah, yes the Gubbio Studiolo, which Rachel had recently blogged about. I have an image of a similarly furnished marquetry trompe l'oeil which I hoped to make the wallpaper for my Cabinet, but couldn't affix it satisfactorily, so went with a Sir John Soane's House etching snippet instead. I love the easy-care maintenance of a trompe l'oeil, too!

  15. I do love to have be a few curiosities lying around. They make for interesting conversation pieces.
    Hope all is well.

  16. Loree: It certainly does. Yes, all is well in this neck of the woods, as I hope it is for you.


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