Evidence contained in an early eighteenth-century chronicle history of the English Carmelite convent at Antwerp, founded in 1619, sheds new light on the social life of Margaret Cavendish (16231673), Duchess of Newcastle, who together with her husband resided in the Rubens House from 1648 until the Restoration. Acting as a host to one Mary Cotton (16291694), whose clothing or profession in the guise of a nymph she sponsored, Margaret probably maintained a special relationship with the Carmelite foundation. Her affection for the musically gifted Cotton may have helped inspire The Convent of Pleasure (publ. 1668), a play featuring an ideal world exclusively populated by independent-minded women. As the plays homoerotic and androgynous ambiguities and its political overtones also appear to allude to the figure of Queen Christina of Sweden, who stayed in Antwerp from August 1654 until December 1655, The Convent may have owed its setting to the specific Antwerp context of the 1650s and as opposed to what is generally assumed have been, partly or wholly, composed (and performed?) before 1660.