Curiosities were a phenomenon typical of the 17th and 18th century. Many a canal-side house resident was the proud owner of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’: a room often housing an ‘art cabinet’ brimming with doors and drawers. These cabinets concealed a wealth of rarities: extraordinary natural phenomena, exotic items and unique hand-made ‘artefacts’. In a period of ocean commerce and explorative expeditions, it is easy to understand the curiosity regarding far-away places and foreign climes. The contents of the cabinet of curiosities reflected the world as it was known at the time.