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What Is a Man's Cabinet?

A man's cabinet is a private room in the palaces of Early Modern Europe which was used as a study or retreat for gentleman. The cabinet was located adjacent to a man's bed chamber and was usually furnished with books, art, office equipment, a chair, desk, built in shelving, and other belongings. The cabinet often served as a private place to entertain visitors isolated from servants and other household members or as a retreat to study, meditate, or work.

In England, the term cabinet became the "strong room" or "treasure store." The cabinet served as a small, closet like room not visible by guests where a man could observe the happenings within his dwelling as well as the arrival and departure of company.

Historically, alternative names for a cabinet included: closet, study, the Italian Renaissance's studiolo, office, or male version of the term "boudoir."

The meaning of "cabinet" extended back to the 16th century to mean a piece of furniture in English, as in the "cabinet of curiosities" and included the contents of and purposes of the cabinet: to act as a strong box or jewel chest.

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