The Environment


One of the most wonderful things about ‘Lady at Her Toilet’ paintings is that they show us the dressing area as it would have been assembled in a Renaissance camera or chamber. When a new bride entered her husband’s home after the wedding she would generally be bringing with her the various items required for her daily dressing needs.



The first of these objects might be a wall mounted mirror or restello with pegs or hooks to hang combs and jewellery from.  The effect of seeing one’s face surrounded by glittering foliage and antique columns must have been both to boost a lady’s confidence in her image and remind her of her high rank. On the wall next to this might have hung an ornate box such as this one with elaborately decorated panels of bone, used to store brushes, tweezers, cosmetics and jewellery. Larger items like linens and books would have been stored in the cassone, or chest.  This collection of objects shows us how essential good grooming and comportment was and the multitude of purposes it fulfilled including health, cleanliness and status.

Click this link to explore and example of a renaissance camera and how the objects might have been arranged inside.

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