It’s National Bed Month!

Kyle Brady
Wednesday 4 March 2020

It’s national bed month, and we’ve chosen to highlight an article focussing on 17th century ‘Louis XIII bed’, recently presented in the Louvre.

Bos, A. (2019). Le lit provenant du château d’Effiat (Puy-de-Dôme) conservé au musée du Louvre. In Situ, 40. https://doi.org/10.4000/insitu.23212
The bed was originally from the Effiat chateau (built 1627) in the Puy-de-Dôme department in central France.
Effiat castle in Auvergne
Public Domain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effiat#/media/File:Effiat_castle_Auvergne.jpg

In the article Agnès Bos, Lecturer in Museum Studies, explores the provenance of the bed, and discusses the current hypothesis regarding the owner of the bed – thought now to be the son of the Marshall d’Effiat (1581-1632). This piece also takes a closer look at the bed’s restoration history. Regarding the bed’s striking looks, an excerpt from an 1849 tourist guide offers a glimpse of it’s splendour in it’s original castle setting: 

In the bedroom of Marshal d’Effiat, whose state of religious conservation invincibly brings you back two centuries back […] what first strikes the eye is the large square bed (sic) of the former governor, whose rich drapes in crimson velvet and silk, embroidered with gold and silver, are supported by four columns surmounted by bouquets of feathers, like a canopy” Bos, 2019, https://doi.org/10.4000/insitu.23212 [Translated using Google Translate]

Effiat bed
© RMN – Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre)

In the 17th century these grand beds we highly prized and personal objects. The cabinet makers would also construct the beds in a way that allowed them to be disassembled for travelling with their owners. The textiles were also carefully considered:

“The textile decoration was very easily replaced according to the the owner’s wishes or following the seasons. The polychromy was often composed of very vivid colors as in the case of the Effiat bed, which is covered with crimson red velvet, and all the tapestry elements were embellished with either braids, lace or embroidery. The Louvre bed has kept its original tapestry made of a ciselé Genoa silk velvet adorned with pineapple motifs alternating with appliquéd silver-embroidered silk.” https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/bed-chateau-d-effiat

The full article (written in French) is available Open Access under a Creative Commons licence, download from the St Andrews Research Repository here: http://hdl.handle.net/10023/18630

Happy bed month everyone!

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