Tester Four Poster Bed Oak Renaissance Style Carved Adam Eve Armorials Tapestry



A vintage king size oak tester or four poster bed in the Renaissance style. Hand carved with Adam & Eve carvings in the headboard, figurative sculptures in the bedposts, three carved armorials on the pelmet rail and an armorial tapestry and velvet bedspread Just purchased more information available shortly and on demand

•\tThis bed was privately commissioned by a collector about 40 years ago representing a rare opportunity to purchase a vintage, hand-crafted bed made to the highest standards in the Renaissance-architectural-style with fine Adam & Eve, figurative and armorial carving. •\tThis bed typifies the expensive and lavishly carved beds that articulated the power and position of the head of the household and were the most expensive pieces of furniture in the home. They were the centrepiece of the Bedroom, the most opulent of a series of rooms designed to showcase the status and wealth of the owner and the height of fashion in palaces, castles and important private homes in the late-16th century. •\tPeriod beds with front pedestals containing open architectural niches to display figurative carvings are exceptionally rare. The infamous Elizabethan Great Bed of Ware in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London has similar niches although it does not retain its figurative carvings. •\tThis bed contains a visual language and narrative that was widely used in Renaissance art. The iconography of Adam & Eve has consistency in prominent masterpieces across genres throughout time. •\tThis bed has been beautifully made, from finely grained oak and the figuring forms part of the aesthetic, with attention to detail throughout, unusually the back is wainscot panelled. It has been handcarved with a considered narrative that is appropriate for its function and the period it is glorifying. The bed has been wisely and ingeniously made in sections so it is easy to handle, assemble and move.

•\tWith the exception of the Great Bed of Ware Renaissance this bed is larger than beds of the period and is a generous 150cm wide (UK king size) •\tIt would not be possible to re-create this handcrafted and handcarved bed for the price that is being asked.

The tester is made in two sections which are held in place and supported by the cornice. Each section contains fifteen moulded panels suggestive of wainscot panelling that was being installed in royal, aristocratic and elite residences . The handcarved dentil moulded cornice attaches to the headboard and front bedposts and is secured with bolts. There are acanthus leaf and scroll handcarved corbels at each end which hide the bolts. The front rail has a large handcarved armorial featuring a lion rampant within a cartouche of acanthus leaves supporting the helmet. Each side also has a handcarved armorial depicting three birds, the blazon and helmet held by scrolling acanthus leaf terms. The top section of the massive bedposts has characteristic, handcarved, bulbous turnings merging into massive, square, architectural pedestals on plinths. The upper pedestal with a vocabulary of Renaissance architectural ornament of fluted classical columns supporting archways on each side revealing handcarved figurative sculptures yet to be identified. The sculpture in the left recess is a simply dressed man in contemplation possibly representing wisdom. The sculpture in the right recess is a woman also simply dressed, holding something in her right hand also in contemplation possibly representing virtue

The pedestals are reminiscent of those on the Great Bed of Ware which no longer has its figurative carvings.

The architectural vocabulary continues with the square plinths, the front and side sections of which are decorated with carved panels. The headboard is made in three separate sections which fit together and are secured with bolts which are hidden by the carved sections at either end. The top section is hand carved with a profusion of intertwining scrollwork surrounding two rectangular cartellinos which are undecorated and, following tradition, initials or coats of arms can be painted on them.

The middle section has three hand carved panels within moulded sections depicting classical iconography within classical architectural arches supported by columns carved with typical Renaissance ornament such acanthus leaves and scrollwork. The two outer panels depict Adam & Eve following the medieval tradition. They stand either side of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil with leaves protecting their modesty. Adam is characteristically on the left and Eve has the apple in her hand, and the serpent is beguiling Eve from above. This iconography was one of the main images of Renaissance art and the principal purpose of its inclusion here is to give pleasure rather than instruction and to symbolise creation. The central panel is also characteristic of the period depicting a vase of flowers, probably alluding to the flowering of life and fertility. The bottom section of the headboard comprises four moulded panels. The back of the headboard is panelled, suggestive of wainscot. There are three plain side rails which fit into the footboard plinth and the headboard, secured by bolts.

The bedspread is made from an early-20th century, machine-made, armorial tapestry faced with velvet and bullion fringe. A box spring base and mattress, both with cut-out corners have been traditionally made and upholstered in Shaftesbury ticking so that the bed is ready to use. The custom-made box spring base is in two sections, 154cm., 5ft½inches wide, 206cm.,6ft9inches long, 9cm.,3½inches deep. The custom-made, 1000 pocket spring, mattress 152cm., 5ft wide, 204.5cm., 6ft8½"long., 26cm., 10¼" deep. We all have unique relationships with our beds. ' The bed is a wonderful creation - where life often begins, and ends; where we open our eyes to start the day, and stretch out our legs at the end of it. the bed is also a comfort zone, a kind of limbo, a secure place. In bed we cry, we laugh, we think; we find warmth and reassurance…Bed is also where our energies are recharged. Research has shown that sleeping on a comfortable bed can boost our mood. ' Celia Forner, Bedtime. RELATED : The infamous Elizabethan Great Bed of Ware in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London displays similar corbels and architectural pedestals.

Shipping P.O.A. Subject to quotation and will be charged separately.
All prices exclude custom clearance fees which, where appropriate, will be charged directly to the client by your receiving courier, importer or government.
Height 90 cm / 35 "
Width 183 cm / 72 "
Depth 244 cm / 96 "

20th Century


circa 1950





Collectors / Designers



Renaissance (In the style of)






GOOD. Wear consistent with age and use.