A noble bedstead with a gruesome end...the state bed in the State Bedroom at Clandon Park was made around 1710, probably by a royal craftsman. In 1778 an inventory of the contents of the house described it as ‘A noble costly Bedstead with Hangings beautifully worked in a great variety of Colours lined with Sattin and superbly finished’. An Onslow family anecdote records that the last guest to sleep in the bed was the ill-fated Marie, Princesse de Lamballe, an intimate friend and companion of Queen Marie-Antoinette and Superintendent of her household, who was imprisoned and murdered during the French Revolution. It's a great story...but it might not be true...the Princess visited England in 1787 and took the waters at Brighton for her health. She returned in 1791 and landed in Dover but it is less clear whether she travelled to Clandon Park. But by 1791, the Princess had returned to France and was, in due course, arrested, put on trial, was found guilty and murderd. There are lurid accounts of her torture and death. Most are thought now to be exaggerated but she was decapitated and her head paraded outside Queen Marie-Antoinette's prison window. The ultimate status symbol, this bed and its en suite chairs and curtain pelmets were made in anticipation of a royal visit to the Onslow family. It is covered in richly coloured wool and silk embroidery and trimmed with painstakingly hand-made tassles and fringes, known as passementerie. The survival of this fragile suite of furniture over 300 years is testament to how much it was treasured by the family.
[Salvaged] Head board from the State bed Original to the Clandon State bed. The bedstead with shaped side canopy, the underside moulded and carved and decorated with applied red braid, the back similar with design of columns and scrolls, the canopy and foot covered in hand-made tapestry ornamented with tasselled braid. Two pairs of curtains of hand-made tapestry heavily decorated with floral and foliage motifs braided and lined. Box spring and hair mattress. The shaped ends of the tester at the back have been removed. (Probably originally a flying tester bed, the poles added and the height of the bed reduced.21.10.75
Purchased by the Ministry of Public Building and Works in 1963, given to the National Trust in 1977