Spice racks are often a decorative focus in the kitchen, and this 17th century continental example for sale at Baggott Church Street shows that little has changed. When it was made, spices were valuable in their own right. They were also vital in the preservation of livestock at the beginning of winter, making their storage and care crucial.
The catalogue entry for a comparable English cabinet at the V&A notes the similarity between the interior of these cupboards and writing cabinets. It says: “Just as the writing cabinet was the most prestigious piece of furniture in a drawing room or closet, the spice cabinet, although much smaller, occupied that role in the kitchen.”
This example, offered for £2100, is probably Dutch. Made in walnut, it has a moulded front door, strap-work iron hinges and inlaid bone decoration (it has been registered with Defra). Inside it has six short and one long drawer and an old paper label bearing the date 1667.