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State bed

attributed to Francis Lapiere (fl. 1683 - 1714)

Category

Furniture

Date

circa 1710 (and later)

Materials

Oak, deal, cotton and silk

Measurements

442 cm (H); 162.5 cm (W); 198 cm (D)

Place of origin

London

Collection

Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 1190874.1

Summary

A State tester bedstead, constructed from oak and deal and upholstered in a later blue silk damask, attributed to Francis Lapiere (fl.1653-1714) London, circa 1710.The massive canopy with elaborately moulded and shaped cornice framing a domed interior with tapering bracketed angles and with double scalloped pelmets. The back with moulded and bracketed pilasters joining the headboard of twin arched and scrolled outline centred by a Viscounts coronet, foot posts raised on square section plinths.

Full description

The inspiration for state beds of this period is often attributed to Daniel Marot (1661-1752), whose published designs are certainly the most numerous and complete expressions of the style. The profile of the cornice with its prominent corners is repeated in a more emphatic manner on other examples, such as those made for the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Melville in the 1690s. Both these beds are attributed to Francis Lapiere but Marot’s contribution to the design is unclear. The designs appear in Marot’s engravings post 1712 and demonstrate only that that he was aware of and approved of the designs but there is no evidence to suggest that the designs are his own. Marot was however instrumental in promoting such beds in Holland where they remained popular throughout the first half of the 18th century. A similar, although somewhat more elaborate State Bed was supplied to William Blathwayt at Dyrham Park sometime after 1703, it does nor appear in the 1703 inventory but is included in 1710. It is thought that Blathwayt ordered the bed in anticipation of a possible visit from Queen Anne in 1703, when she was expected in Bath but this did not happen. This 'the best bed' was intended as the principle element in a luxurious suite of furniture for the 'best bedchamber above stairs' in the state apartment on the first floor of the East Wing. The set comprised: door curtains and valence, window valences and a suite of seat furniture with six chairs and four stools all matching the bed hangings. The window curtains were of yellow silk damask and the walls were covered in tapestry. Another comparable state bed in the National Trust's collection is at Belton House, Lincolnshire, it is unclear how it arrived there as it is not identifiable in either the 1737 or 1754 house inventories but we do know that it was re-upholstered in 1813 and was most likely hung with crimson silk which Tyrconnel seemed to favour. Lord Brownlow, later the 1st Earl (1779-1853), was responsible for the re-upholstery in blue damask and employed William Stephens of 217 Piccadilly, London to carry out the work. An extensive bill survives describing the process and the materials used [Lincoln RO ref. BNLW2/2/1/19]. This bed is one of two very similar examples in the Beningbrough collection, see: NT 1190812. Both were originally believed to have been at Holme Lacey, the ancestral home of the Scudamores (the Earls of Chesterfield) and were presumably sold with the rest of the contents in 1910 (or a possible earlier sale). Unlike the other example, which appears to have been at Beningbrough during Lady Chesterfield's time, this bed had no historic Beningbrough connection but comes from the collection of Mr Graham Baron Ash of Wingfield Castle, Norfolk, who died in February 1980 at the age of ninety. The bed was sold at Christies Wingfield Castle Sale 30th May 1980 Lot 222. The bed was bought by the NACF for £6132.50 and presented to the National Trust for display at Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire, in memory of the late Graham Baron Ash. (James Weedon, November 2019)

Provenance

Purchased at Christie's on 30th May 1980 (Lot 222) by the National Arts Collection Fund and presented to Beningbrough Hall in memory of Graham Baron Ash.The earlier history is not clear, but it was acquired as a rare example of an intact state tester bedstead and allocated to Beningbrough because of the close similarity to a state bed already at the property (NT 1190812). Purchased at Christie's 30 May 1980 (Lot 222) for £6,132.50 by the National Art Collections Fund (NACF) and presented to the National Trust in memory of the late Graham Baron Ash.

Makers and roles

attributed to Francis Lapiere (fl. 1683 - 1714), maker

References

Bowett 2002 Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, 2002 , pg.186 Thornton, 1978: Peter Thornton, 17th century Interior Decoration in England, France and Holland, New Haven and London, 1978 Edwards, Ralph, 1894-1977 shorter dictionary of English furniture : 1964.

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