The Spangled Bed
circa 1600 - circa 1610
Oak and pine bed frame hung with crimson silk panels decorated with strap work of gold and silver thread and spangles
360.0 x 202.0 x 246.0 cm
Place of origin
EnglandOrder this image
Knole, Kent (Accredited Museum)
On show at
The Spangle Bed (with thousands of silver-gilt sequins sewn into its red satin curtains).
A very imposing four poster state bed, English, c.1600-1610 and later, made of oak and pine, with a deep cornice, hung with curtains of crimson and buff silk adorned with an extremely rare appliqué strap work design, embroidered, fringed with gold and silver thread and studded with metal spangles, many of which remain, appearing, in their present tarnished condition as black dots. However, when new, the whole bed must have glittered. The appliqué panels are of outstanding quality and may originally have formed part of a late 16th or early 17th century canopy of state in a royal palace. It is possible that Lionel Cranfiled, 1st Earl of Middlesex and Master of the Great Wardrobe, acquired the panels in the early 17th century and that he had the curtains, with their Italian silk lining, made to match for Copt Hall in Essex. His grandson, Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, may have applied both to the present bed framework, when the material came from Copt Hall to Knole in 1701. The bed was installed in its present position by 1765. En suite with the bed is one x-framed chair of state (129463) as well as eight high stools (129464.1-7 and 129579), all covered with the same appliqué strap work textile.
The earlier parts of the bed were probably acquired as a royal perquisite by Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex, in his capacity of Master of the Great Wardrobe to King James I. The later, matching textiles are likely to have been added by his grandson, Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, when the earlier material came from Copt Hall to Knole in 1701. The bed is first recorded in its present position in 1765. Knole and the majority of its furniture were accepted by HM Treasury in part payment of death duties and transferred to the National Trust in 1946.