The doors and interior woodwork of these houses in many cases are precious records of the skill of the Dutch and Flemish wood-carvers of the period.

One of the most famous houses in Mechlin in the second half of the seventeenth century was a com-mandery called the Pitsembourg; and it was selected in 1668 as the most suitable residence for the High Constable of Castile and Leon.

An inventory of the furnishings of this establishment was taken in 1656, which enables us to go through the house.

The first room that we enter is called de Trappenye, and was used as an office. Here we find a picture representing the Birth of Christ and two pieces of sculpture - The Offering and The Three Kings, standing on two pedestals that bear the arms of Cratz (Cratz was commander of the House of Mechlin from 1564 to 1604). In this room are two large cases - one with twenty and the other with ten drawers, one lettered, and the other numbered - to preserve papers, documents and charts. It is warmed by a half-stove, halve stove, according to the inventory. For diversion, there is a backgammon board with white pieces of boxwood, and black of lignum-vitae. Passing from this into the camer beneffens de trappenye, we find a bedroom, de camer boven de trappenye, the most conspicuous object of which is a bed. So sumptuous is this, in fact, that no other furniture is needed to give this room distinction. To begin with, the framework is ornately carved, and it is hung with rich silken curtains and sumptuously upholstered.

Undoubtedly this bed was of the same type as the beautiful Renaissance specimen reproduced in Plate XXV, from the Rijks Museum, Amsterdam. A reference to Plate X will show this is later in style than the "new" one designed by De Vries. The "linen-fold" panel has entirely disappeared, and the carved accessories are all pure late Renaissance. At the time this inventory was taken, however, these magnificent wardrobe-shaped beds with elaborate carving were already out of date and supplanted in favour by the lighter form with simple posts at the corners, the whole being entirely closed with curtains. This bed appears in Plate XXVI and Plate XXVII with both square and dome-shaped tops, and in many other pictures by the Dutch masters of the seventeenth century.

The Sick Woman, by Jan Steen. RIJKS MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM.

Plate XXVI. - The Sick Woman, by Jan Steen. RIJKS MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM.

Figs. 31 and 33: Folding Chairs, by Crispin van de Passe; Fig. 32: Chair, by Crispin van de Passe; Fig. 34: Table, by Crispin van de Passe.

The bed in which upholstery had superseded carving had been growing in favour, not only in the homes of the middle classes, but also in those of the rich. It even occurs in the inner room of the wealthy house represented in Plate XXIV.

This bed, known as the lit en housse, is the typical bed of the seventeenth century, and is the one that appears in Abraham Bosse's engravings, whenever a bed is introduced - in the homes of the rich, in hospitals, and in the rooms of tradesmen and school teachers. In this style of bed, the framework is of comparatively little importance. The del, or canopy, is supported on four posts which are carved or painted in harmony with the curtains, or covered with the same materials.

Beneath the valance, a rod runs under the canopy for the support of the curtains, which are drawn up or down by means of cords and pulleys. When closed, the lit en housse looks like a square box. The elegance of the bed depended upon its upholstery. The richest beds were draped with tapestry, silk, damask brocade and velvet, beautifully trimmed with gold and silver braid or lace, narrow silk fringe, or fringe of gold or silver threads, or decorative cords and tassels. Serge, cloth, East Indian goods, linen and cotton materials were also employed. The curtains were more or less richly lined and the four corners of the canopy above the posts were decorated with a carved or turned wooden knob called a pomme (which was sometimes gilded or painted), a bunch of feathers, or a "bouquet" made of ravelled silk ornaments or inverted tassels.

Returning now to our examination of the Pitsem-bourg, we note that the next room is that of the master brewer, in which there is a very shabby bed, an old picture representing the Elevation during Holy Mass, a wall map of Germany and a standard with the arms of Lant-Commander, Werner Spies von Bullesheim, who was at the head of the house of Mechlin from 1639 to 1641.

Passing by the unimportant rooms of the servants, we enter the old room of the commander, where we note an alcove hung with two little green curtains with an embroidered border, and in the alcove a bed with bolster, pillow and two counterpanes, one white, and the other green, a table covered with a cloth, some little stools (escarbeaux), two chairs covered with green cloth, andirons, shovel and tongs of copper, and a number of pictures, among which are two little representations of castles, the Battle of Calloo, a portrait of Lant-Com-mander Bongaert in full-dress uniform, one of Lant-Commander van Ruyssenbergh, one of Commander Cratz, and one of Commander Werner Spies von Bulles-heim kneeling with a chaplain at the feet of the Virgin. Two little rooms and a bathroom belonging to the chaplain follow, and then we enter a room called In den inganck van't voorhuys. In the centre stands an old table covered with a "carpet of gilt leather." There are some water-colours on the wall, including two vases filled with flowers, and two of decorative motives with the inscriptions "Virtus parit honorem" and Qui con-fidit in divitiis corruet.

There is also a large painting of the arms of the Archduke Maximilian, Grand Master of the Order (son of the Emperor Maximilian II).

Woman, with a Parrot, by Jan Steen. RIJKS MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM.

Plate XXVII. - Woman, with a Parrot, by Jan Steen. RIJKS MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM.