Octave spinet

In the 1600s playing keyboard instruments well was considered a princely virtue, as was the collecting of outstanding curiosities. Cabinets, used for storing smaller curiosities, were made in large numbers in Augsburg (Germany) at this time, and the most prestigious examples were decorated in the same way as this instrument. Both the base and lid of this octave spinet are fitted with ingeniously hidden compartments, a speciality of Augsburg cabinetmakers. This instrument could be regarded as an exquisite toy, and more suitable for a prince than a professional musician.