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A royal bed at Chatsworth: the puzzle of the fourth duke's perquisite: Annabel Westman unravels the mystery behind the newly-conserved state bed on display in the State Bedchamber at Chatsworth. It seems likely that it was made in 1723 for George II and was acquired by the 4th Duke of Devonshire as a perquisite in 1761.

On 25 October 1760, George II died suddenly o f a heart attack at Kensington Palace. He had risen early from his bed and was found on the floor of his closet. (1) Several months later, the following items were sent to Devonshire House, the London home of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire (1720-64). As Lord Chamberlain, a post he held between 1757 and 1762, he was entitled to take, as a perquisite for his personal use, furniture from the royal palaces regarded as worn out or out-dated. (2)
 To be sent to Devonshire House the Evening
 5 June 1761-1. His late Majesty's Crimson
 Damask Standing Bed etc. from above Stairs
 Hangings of the room & window Curtains of
 Crimson Damask 2. One Easy, one Elbow
 Chair & six Square Stools covered with crimson
 silk Damask 3. Four Mahogany Elbow Chairs
 covered with Crimson Silk Damask 4. A
 Mahogany card Table lined with with [sic] green
 Velvet & Gold Lace 5. A Walnut'Tree Night
 table fined Do.6. Two walnut Tree Night
 Tables' (3)


No mention is made of where these items came from, but visitors to Chatsworth in Derbyshire, the duke's country seat, soon began to make an important connection between the two events. In 1789, James Pilkington briefly noted that in the Mary Queen of Scots apartment there was 'the bed, which was presented to the duke on the same occasion wth the coronation chairs', a comment repeated and expanded upon in 1793, when the same bed was described as 'the four post bedstead with Crimson Damask furniture'. (4) This visitor also observed a state bed hung with crimson velvets in the 'adjoining room' of the Scots apartment, and a crimson damask bed 'trimmed with Gold lace' in the State Bedchamber of the state apartment created by the 1st Duke (1640-1707). Three years later, Lady Sykes made a further royal link, 'Here is also the Bed George the 2nd died in, which came down with the Royal Chairs'. This information was repeated in 1802 by the Revd Richard Warner, who also saw the bed--'another perquisite of the office of the late Duke'--in the 'Scarlet-Room' next to the Scots apartment. (6) The Revd D.P. Davies gave similar details in 1811 but called the same room the 'Crimson Bed chamber'. (7)

However, subsequent visitors, including Stephen Glover in 1829 and George Hall 10 years later, recorded the bed in the 'State Bed' or 'Scarlet-room' of the first Duke's state apartment, where previously the crimson damask bed (trimmed with gold) had been recorded. (8) No mention is made of the Scots apartments. Had the 4th Duke's perquisite been moved around or was the information being applied to the wrong bed?

This puzzle is made more complex by the sheer number of beds recorded at Chatsworth. h led one anonymous writer to despair in 1906, 'The question of the bed in which George II died is involved in much obscurity ... There is evidently a great confusion in connection with this "relic" which, though not of the greatest importance, would be interesting to unravel in view of recovering the appearance of the rooms at the end of the eighteenth century.' (9) This article attempts to 'unravel' the mystery and prove that the bed that forms the focal point of the newly-restored state apartment (Fig. 1) is not only the 4th Duke's perquisite but may originally have been a royal bed 'of the greatest importance'.

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This bed's association with the 4th Duke rests solely on family legend and the comments of those late-18th- and early- 19th-century visitors. However, these sources are strong, and the link they make with the 1760 coronation chairs, which are still at Chatsworth and have been confirmed as one of the 4th Duke's perquisites, (10) makes them plausible. Moreover, careful reading of the accounts reveals that while confusion might exist today, there did not appear to be any at the time. Between 1789--the first known documented sighting of the bed 'in which George II died'--and 1811, the bed was recorded in the Scots apartment or the room adjoining ('Room adjoining', was the actual name given to the room in the 1792 and 1811 household inventories). (11) The 1811 inventory lists:
 A large size 4 post Oak Bedstead with a
 Solid Oakbottom and Crimson silk damask
 furniture lin'd with Silk, a large cove Scrole
 cornice and Headboard cover'd with the
 same as the Bedfurniture, moulded bases etc. a
 thick leather curl'd Hair Mattress 2 Plain flock
 Mattresses in White cotton cases 1 pair Upper
 and a single under Blankets A Marseilles quilt 2
 crimson lutestring festoon Window Curtains
 lin'd with tammy ... 1 large and 1 small
 Mahogany carved Back stool Elbow chairs
 stuff'd in Crimson Silk damask 6 unarm'd chairs
 to correspond in Crimson Silk damask


As the visitors indicate, there were two crimson damask beds at Chatsworth at this time, and it is widely agreed that the above description more closely resembles the bed now in the state bedchamber, than the one distinguished as 'trimm'd with Gold lace'. The latter is the original bed made for the 1st Duke's State Bedroom by Francis Lapiere in 1697, and it is clear from the 1764, 1792 and 1811 inventories of the house that it remained in the room until the 6th Duke (1790-1858) relegated it to Hardwick Hall, another of his properties in the county. (12) The Lapiere bed was illustrated in a 1828 watercolour by W.H. Hunt in the Long Gallery at Hardwick (Fig. 2), where it was displayed as a canopy made up of the bed tester, headcloth, headboard, base valance and curtains, the first known image of this extraordinary piece of baroque upholstery. (13)

The painting's date helps to explain why the visitors suddenly began to refer to the Duke's perquisite (the other crimson damask bed) as being in the State Bedchamber. It must have been moved there when the Scots rooms were being renovated between 1827 and 1833 and when the Lapiere bed had gone. It did not remain in the State Bedchamber for long, however, as it too was relegated to Hardwick in the early 1840s and exchanged with an embroidered canopy made for Christian Bruce, wife of the second Earl (c. 1590-1628), which was originally at Hardwick. The 6th Duke had had it restored, but, as recorded in his Handbook of 1844, it 'appeared too gorgeous for its old place'. (14) It was still in the state bedroom at Chatsworth in 1905 (see pp. 60-67). (15)

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There is one major flaw in the argument--the colour of the fabric. The bed in the State Bedchamber now has crimson and yellow hangings, not simply crimson as stated in all the descriptions. (16) This has created considerable confusion in recent years. However, close examination of the 18th-century damask undertaken during the recent restoration of the bed reveals that the bold colour contrast now visible was not the intended original effect. Not surprisingly, given its usage, the fabric a five-end satin damask--has suffered severe light degradation over the years, causing the crimson warp to disintegrate and expose the underlying yellow weft (Figs 3 and 4). The warp was unusually heavy, allowing the weft to appear only as a subtle undertone, which had the effect of enhancing the overall dominant crimson hue. (17) This delicate toning can still be seen in parts of the tester (Fig. 11). Percy Macquoid was still describing the bed as with 'rose-coloured damask' hangings, trimmed with a 'broad rose galon' in 1905, as was H. Avray Tipping in 1918. (18) The bed came back to Chatsworth in the early 1900s and was probably put in the Red Bedroom West, (19) before being moved into the State Bedchamber for the visits of George v and Queen Mary in 1913 and 1933. (20) In 1950, the bed was finally recorded with the colours we see today--a 'Canopied Bed Red and Gold silk damask. The top of the canopy corbelled and moulded, Escrolls at the front corners the head of the bed scrolled with vase, decorated in the centre. English 1720.' (21)

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The question remains when and for whom the bed was commissioned and whether there is any further information connecting it to the 4th Duke. There has long been a debate over its date, which has been variously placed between 1690 and 1740-a wide span, roughly confirmed by recent analysis of the fabric pattern, which, although dating from the first decade of the 18th century, may still have been in use in 1740. (22) However, various factors, including the bed's general design and the treatment of the trimmings, in particular the lack of fringe, indicate a date around 1710-25. It seems likely that the bed was made either at the end of Queen Anne's reign (1702-1714) or during George I's (1714-27).

Research amongst the Lord Chamberlain's records over this period has uncovered evidence that, although circumstantial, has raised some exciting possibilities. (23) There is no record of any bed matching that at Chatsworth having been supplied for Queen Anne, but at least three beds of crimson damask--the most popular colour for such grand use--were made for George I--two for Kensington Palace and one for St James's Palace. (24) All three were made by the royal upholsterer, Thomas Phill, working with the joiner Richard Roberts and the laceman William Weeks, who supplied the trimmings. These craftsmen (25) were also responsible for a crimson damask bed made for the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1715 for use at Hampton Court Palace, where it survives, which has a similar striking silhouette and inverted scrolls on the outer valances. The embroidered bed at Houghton Hall, of around 1720-25, provides another similar, although slightly later, stylistic comparison. Richard Roberts may also have been involved with it. (26)

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

The crimson damask bed made for the King's private apartment at St James's Palace in 1725 is a possible contender for the Duke's perquisite. It had 'lace richly Embroider'd upon the Vails & Bases wth Shell & Corner pieces all richly carved covered & laced', (27) but this description is not particularly distinctive. One of the two beds made for Kensington Palace is a more likely possibility, not least because the King died there. However, furniture has a tendency to move around the royal residences and, although there is only evidence of smaller items being moved at Kensington before George n's death, it cannot be assumed that these beds remained in situ for some 35-40 years. (28)

The first of the two crimson damask beds was made for the King's new private apartments on the lower floor at Kensington Palace in 1719, part of a rebuilding and furnishing scheme that he had initiated the previous year. (29) A full account of the furnishing of the bedchamber was given in the Lord Chamberlain's records--Richard Roberts charged for making 'a large 4 post Wainscott Bedstead with Moulding teaster, Cornishes, Carved head Board and Base Mouldings', and Thomas Phill invoiced 'for covering and laceing the woodwork of the Bed and making up all compleat laced with Silk lace and the vall lined with Taffeta'. (30) In addition, wall hangings, window curtains, 'one Wallnuttree elbow Chair ... one easy Chair ... [and] 10 square stools' upholstered to match the bed were provided. A similar group (but only 6 stools) is noted in the list of perquisites, although they do not appear in the 1792 or 1811 Chatsworth inventories with the bed. (31)

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

While the seat furniture provides an interesting lead, the Chatsworth bed can more plausibly be connected with one supplied in 1723 for the 'new apartments' on the first floor at Kensington Palace, created during the second phase of redecoration by William Kent between 1722 and 1727. (32) The bedchamber was also supplied with crimson damask hangings and window curtains, but only this bed could be described as the one 'from above Stairs'--as noted in item 1 of the Duke's perquisites. In addition, there are a number of similarities between the tradesmens' accounts, (33) the 1811 inventory and items surviving on the bed itself.

Both documentary descriptions indicate that the bed was made of oak and had a solid base (34) and, apart from the finials, the bed still has 'a handsome Molding Teaster Cornishes & Base moldings wth a rich carved head board ... 4 carved Bed's feet ... a Sett of Vauses richly carved..', which were upholstered by Thomas Phill with crimson damask, 'the Lace richly Embroidered upon the Vallans' and with Wauzes Shell & Corner pieces all richly carved & Laced'. The mention of Wauzes' and 'Bed's feet', in particular, set this bed apart from the others mentioned--it is in all aspects the more expensive bed. Although these items are not listed in the Chatsworth descriptions, Macquoid commented in 1905 that 'the vase finials have been removed', and Avray Tipping in 1918 added that a specimen had been retained 'as the central ornament of the head of the bed'. (35) It is still there today (Fig. 5). Of special interest are the two (of four) bed feet (Figs 6, 7) that survive. These could be considered an unexpected and rather outmoded feature for a bed of this date until examination of their style. Earlier examples are short and made to disguise the base of the post, whereas these are taller, their fluted shape is more architectural in form and they slot into the base mouldings (Fig. 7). (36) They form an integral bed foot and cover for the bed bolts--possibly a forerunner of the simple wooden L-shaped casings found on some later beds to cover the bolts.

Overall, the bed's general appearance could suggest an earlier date: it is not dissimilar to the bed at Dyrham Park of c. 1705, with its broken 'handsome Molding' cornice and scallop-shaped valances. (37). However, this retardataire quality might have been deliberate. Adam Bowett has pointed to the late-baroque appearance of some of the furniture supplied for the King's apartment by John Gumley and James Moore in 1724. (38)

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[FIGURE 9 OMITTED]

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The story now moves back to Chatsworth to find the missing link--the transfer of 'His late Majesty's Crimson Damask Standing Bed' from Devonshire House. The Duchess of Northumberland made no reference to the bed when she toured Chatsworth in 1766, although she did mention the coronation chairs. However, she probably did not visit the Wardrobe--a rich repository, almost a dumping ground, for many fine pickings, according to the 1764 inventory. (39) Among the oddments were listed, 'a Crimson Damask Bed Compleat Lin'd wth Crimson Lutstring, & a White silk Quilt' and, in one of the baskets, 'A Bedstead belonging to ye Crimson damask Bed Curtains ... one fustian & one White Satten Mattress Belonging to the Crimson Damask Bed ... Three Base Vallens belong.g to ye State Bed'. (40) Whether or not this is the perquisite bed, it would appear that the 4th Duke might have acquired more than the items on the 1761 list, as also recorded in the Wardrobe were 'Six yards & a half of India Satten wth India figures on it'--an exotic and highly unusual find--with the same quantity of 'green Lutestring'. Could this green satin have been part of a set of embroidered hangings with '8 large Indian figures wth gold & silver at 213s [pounds sterling] each' worked by Thomas Hawgood for the Great Closet at Kensington, 'payned, Lined Interlined & trim'd with gold Arras Lace' by Thomas Phill and provided with green taffeta covers in 1723? (41)

[FIGURE 11 OMITTED]

The Chatsworth bed has obviously been altered over time, which makes it more difficult to identify. The corbelled platforms of the cornice must have been made to take a set of finials, with perhaps a 'Shell' ornament in the centre--a feature exhibited in different forms on both the 1715 Hampton Court bed and the Houghton embroidered bed mentioned above. Any evidence of the finials was probably removed when the bed posts were reduced in height (and the foot posts discarded for mahogany ones). The replacement base rails now support a Staples 'Wire mattress and bedstead', possibly from the early 1900s (a wedged piece of paper in the back of a modern metal fixing plate on the inside of one of the bed feet is postmarked 1903). The reduction in the bed's height may have altered what was originally a more elaborate design for the headcloth--Macquoid noted that 'the panel of silk immediately behind the pillows is a restoration'. (42) But in the main the bed has remained remarkably intact.

During the recent restoration, the bed has been raised in height by 46 cm by attaching (removable) metal extensions to the bed posts to raise the height of the curtains, and by inserting spacers between the cornice and tester rail to align the valances and hide the tester dome (Figs 8 and 9). A new headboard cover has been woven by Richard Humphries to match the original fabric, and the whole bed has been painstakingly conserved and covered with crimson net--to give more of an impression of the original tone--by Christine Thompson and her in-house team and volunteers at Chatsworth, with the advice of the textile conservator Ksynia Marko.

The bed now stands resplendent, carefully lit, against a background of late-17th-century Brussels tapestries, probably original to the room (Fig. 12). New window curtains and cornices to match the bed have been made (see p. 65), together with a toilet table cloth on which is displayed the magnificent silver service made by Pierre Provost around 1670. The 4th Duke's perquisite is a very worthy successor to the original bed, especially as a strong case can be made for it being the state bed supplied to Kensington Palace for George I in 1723.

[FIGURE 12 OMITTED]

APPENDIX

Extracts from the Warrant and the tradesmens' bills relating to the furnishing of the King's Bedchamber in his 'New Apartments' at Kensington Palace, Michaelmas 1723 to Michaelmas 1724 National Archives [NA] LC5/127 1714-1724: Warrant no 10 Furniture of His Matys New appartment at Kensington 'For the Bedchamber a New Bed compleat of rich Crimson Damask trim'd with Silk Orice Lace, three pair of Window Curtains Vallance and Cornishes of the Same Damask with Silk lines and Tassels, One Arm'd Chair and twelve Stools covered with the same Damask with Crimson Silk Taffata Cases and a Case Curtain of Crimson silk taffeta, Two looking glasses, two Tables, four Stands gilt and a fire screen ... And for so doing this Shall be Your Graces Warrant'. Dated 18 January. 1723-24.

NA LC9/287: Tradesmens' bills FROM MICHELMAS 1723 David Bosanquett, merchant (No. 53, fol. 53.) For his Maty's New Appartm.t at Kensington.

For 1099 yds of Crimson Genoa Damask for a Bedd Windo Curtains Chairs Canopy of State etc 23s p yard 1263.17.0. [pounds sterling] [the damask was also for the Drawing Room, Cube Room, Pr@ Chamber and Presence Chamber]

THOMAS PHILL, upholsterer (No. 5, fol. 55.) For his Majesty's New Appartment at Kensington (Warr.t no 10). For the Bedchamber

For very large pollish'd brass rings & Ferrit for the Crimson Damask Bed Curtains Strong Buckram to Line the double Vallans & Bases and dyed Linnen to Line the Head cloth 4.11.0 [pounds sterling]--For making up the Crimson Damask Bed compleat the Lace richly Embroidered upon the Vallans wth Vauzes Shell & Corner peices All richly carved & Laced 46.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For sewing silk Clew & all other materials Used ab.t the Same Bed 3.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For Nails & putting up the Crimson Damask bed 1.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For very large polished brass rings & tape for ye Crimson Taffata Case Curtains 1.8.0 [pounds sterling]--For Sewing Silk Making & putting up 4 large Curtains of Crimson Taffeta gather'd with a head 3.6.0 [pounds sterling]--For 3 bright pollisht pully Rods & hooks o1.16.0--For large polished brass Rings & ferrit for 3 pr of Windo Curtains, Buckram to Line the Vallans & brass pullys for the Side Lines 1.17.0 [pounds sterling]--For making up 3 pr of Crimson Damask Windo Curtains the Lace richly Embroider'd upon the Valls with large Carved Comishes Vauzes & Corners covered and Laced 7.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For Sewing Silk & glew used 1.16.0 [pounds sterling]--For Nails & putting up the 3 pr pf Curtains Vallance & Cornishes 0.7.6 [pounds sterling]--For a large Down Bed & Bolster in Dimity Cases 19.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For 2 very large and thick Fustian Mattresses o9.0.0--For a thick Mattress cover'd with White Sattin 5.5.0 [pounds sterling]--For a thin one Cover'd Do 3.6.0 [pounds sterling]--For quilting & Making a Pr of large White Sarcenet Blankets 7.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For a Pr of very large fine fflannell Blankets bound wth Ribbon 5.2.6 [pounds sterling]--For a Sett of White pillows covered wth White Satfin & a Bolster covered wth the Same 2.12.0 [pounds sterling]--For fine Dyed Linnen to Line the Crimson Damask Hangings 7.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For Making the Crimson Damask hangings for the Bedchamber lined & laced o6.0.0--For Sewing Silk & thread used 0.17.6 [pounds sterling]--For Nails & putting up the Crimson Damask hangings 0.8.0 [pounds sterling]--For Girtwebb, bottoming, Rolling, curled hair, Linnen & Stuffing up 12 Square Stools 5.4.0 [pounds sterling]--For Stuffing an Easy Elbow chair 2.18.0 [pounds sterling]--For Making Damask covers for the 12 Square Stools Nails & fixing them on at 9s p Stool 5.8.0 [pounds sterling]--For making a Damask cover for the Elbow Chair 0.18.0 [pounds sterling]--For Making false Cases of Crimson Taffata for the 12 Square Stools 4.16.0 [pounds sterling]--For Making a Case to the Elbow Chair 0.12.0 [pounds sterling]--For Sewing Silk used about the sd Chair & Stools 1.8.0 [pounds sterling]

RICHARD ROBERTS joiner (No. 32, fol.63) For his Maty's new Appartment at Kensington For the Bedchamber

For a large Oak Bedstead the Bottom to hang low wth Iron Work & a handsome Molding Teaster Cornishes & Base moldings wth a rich carved head board 40.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For 4 carved Bed's feet 2.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For a Sett of large Curtain rods & plattoons to the Bed 2.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For 2 long poles to draw the Curtains 1.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For a Sett of Vauses finely richly carved 5.10.0 [pounds sterling]--For 3 large Windo Cornishes finely carved & carved Vauses fix'd on them 15.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For 12 large Wallnuttree Square Stool frames finely carved & pollish'd 27.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For a large Wallnuttree Arm'd Chair Suitable 2.15.0 [pounds sterling]--For fixing up the Beds & Windo Curtains wth Iron Work 3.10.0 [pounds sterling]

WILLAM WEEKS, Laceman (No 35, fol.65) For Furniture for a Bedd Windo Curtains hangings Chairs etc for his Maty's New Appartmt at Kensington [includes all the rooms]

For 31 yds of very broad crim in g'rain Silk l.ace at 4s 6d 6.19.6 [pounds sterling]--For 222 ydds 1/2 of Do Narrower at 3s 3d 36.3.1 1/2 [pounds sterling]--For 1229 yds 1/2 of Do Binding at 2s 6d 153.13.9 [pounds sterling]--For 184 yds 1/2 of Do Nailing at at 6d 11.10.7 1/2 [pounds sterling]--For 216 yds of Do broad Breed at 6d 5.8.0 [pounds sterling]--For 293 yds of Do narrow at 4d 4.17.8 [pounds sterling]--For 70 yards of Do Silk Line with 33 Ounc 1/2 at 2s 6d 4.3.9 [pounds sterling]--For 6 large knotted Tassels wth pear Moulds at 10s 3.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For 291 Ounces of crimson gr Silk Lyor for 4 Chandeliers at 3s p ounce 43.13.0 [pounds sterling]--For 4 large knotted Tassels Suitable 4.0.0 [pounds sterling]

GEORGE BINCKES & PARTNER MERCERS (NO 67, fol. 73) For his Mat's new Appartment at Kensington

For 426 yds of Crimson Italian Taffeta for two Case curtains & false Cases for Chairs and Stools at 10s p yd 213.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For 72 yds of white Florence Sattin to cover 2 Mattresses a Bolster and a Sett of pillows at 14s 50.8.0 [pounds sterling]--For 1(14 yards of White Sarcenctt for a Pr. of Blankets at 5s 6d 28.12.0 [pounds sterling]

FROM MICHELMAS 1724 GEORGE BINCKES & PARTNERS, MERCERS (NO. 3, fol. 78) For his Maty's Great Bedchamber at Kensington

For 12 yds of Crim Taffata to Add to a Case Curtain at 10s 6.0.0 [pounds sterling]--For 6 yds of Do for a Case for a Fire Skreen at 10s 3.0.0 [pounds sterling]

THOMAS PHILL, Upholsterer (No. 19, fol. 81) For his Maty's Service at Kensington

For Altering a piece of Crim Damask hangings in the Great Bedchamb. and Adding 2 Breadths to the Case Curtain of the Bedd 0.15.0 [pounds sterling]--For Making a Crim Taffata Case to a Fire Screen 0.8.0 [pounds sterling]

THOMAS PHILL Upholsterer (No. 85, fol. 98) For the Crimson Damask Bed ion this Maties New Apparimt at Kensington

(Omitted in last year's acco.t) For a very large Strong Compass Rod double gilt wth Gold & Standards to it 20.0.0 [pounds sterling]

WILLIAM WEEKS, laceman (No. 86, fol. 99)

To add to The Crimson damask hangings in his Maty's New Appartment at Kensington For 24 yds of Crim in grain Silk Arras Lace at 2s 6d 3.0.0 [pounds sterling]

DAVID BOSANQUETT merchant (No. 88) fol. 99) To Add to the Hangings in his Maty's New Appartment at Kensington

For 5 yds ()filch Crim Genoa Damask at 23s p yd 5.15.0 [pounds sterling]

I am indebted to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire for allowing me access to the bed and the archives, the Dowager Duchess for her personal recollections, and Hannah Obee, Curator of Decorative Art, Devonshire Collection, for her invaluable assistance and infectious enthusiasm. I would also like to thank Sir Hugh Roberts, Dr Adam Bowett and Lucy Wood for their very helpful comments.

(1) Edward Impey, Kensington Palace, London, 2003, p. 81.

(2) Gervase Jackson-Stops, 'Purchase and Perquisites, The 6th Earl of Dorset's Furniture at Knole-II', Country Life, vol CLXI, 9June 1977, pp. 1620-22.

(3) Devonshire MSS., Chatsworth, 247.7. A letter to the Duke of 30 July 1761, signed by Robert Wilmot, indicates that the bed may have been delivered the following month (290.121).

(4) James Pilkington, A View of the Present State of Derbyshire, vol. II, Derby, 1789, p. 436; Anonymous, 'A Cursory View', MS, I793, Chatsworth Archives.

(5) This bed, sometimes called 'Queen Mary's bed', was probably made for the 1st Duke's apartments c. 1700. Moved to Hardwick by the 6th Duke, it was destroyed c. 1858-59. Textile fragments and three walnut bed feet survive.

(6) Lady Sykes, 'Remarks: Journal of a Tour in 1796', MS, 2 vols., Sledmere House, Yorkshire. Extract from a typescript copy in the Chatsworth Archives, reproduced by kind permission of Sir Tatton Sykes; Revd. Richard Warner, A Tour through the Northern Counties of England and the borders of Scotland, vol. I, 1802, p. 154.

(7) D.P. Davies, A New Historical and Descriptive View of Derbyshire, Belper, 1811, p. 643.

(8) Stephen Glover, The History of the County of Derby, vol. II, Glover, 1829, p. 232 ; George Hall, History of Chesterfield, revised ed., London, 1839, p. 414.

(9) Devonshire MSS., Chatsworth, 'Notes on Beds', September 1906 and October 1907 (possibly by the Librarian, Mrs Eugenie Strong).

(10) Hugh Roberts, 'RoyalThrones, 1760-1850', Furniture History, vol. xxv (1989), pp. 61-85.

(11) Devonshire MSS., Chatsworth, 'Inventory of Household Furniture etc. at Chatsworth and Hardwick', 1792; 'Inventory of Sundry Household fixtures and furniture etc', 1811.

(12) Geoffrey Beard and Annabel Westman, 'A French Upholsterer in England: Francis Lapiere, 1653-1714', Toe Burlington Magazine, vol CXXXV, no 1085 (August 1993), pp. 515-24.

(13) The bed is also illustrated in a watercolour of the Long Gallery by David Cox, c. 1840, Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth.

(14) The Duchess of Devonshire, The House, A Portrait of Chatsworth, London, 1982, p. 139.

(15) Devonshire MSS, Chatsworth, Inventory catalogue, 1903. The embroidered canopy is now in the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall.

(16) A red and yellow mixed damask bed was recorded in the Chapel Bed Chamber in the 1764 inventory but it disappeared from the accounts when the chapel was altered in the mid 1770s.

(17) I am grateful to Richard Humphries for his help in analysing the fabric construction and also Milton Sonday and Melinda Watt for their help with identification.

(18) Percy Macquoid, A History of English Furniture, The Age of Walnut. London. 1905, pp 180-83. He provides the first illustration of the bed (in black and white). I am grateful to Lucy Wood for drawing the reference to my attention; H. Avray Tipping, 'Chatsworth, Derbyshire--IV', Country Life, vol XLIII, 26 January 1918, pp. 84-90. The 'galon' trimming has been analysed by Anna Benson of Context Weavers. Technically it is a crimson silk braid with yellow/gold highlights.

(19) Devonshire MSS, Chatsworth, Inventor). 1905, p. 128 lists a mahogany bed with carved scrolls and mouldings with crimson silk damask hangings.

(20) The Duchess of Devonshire, op. cit., p. 89.

(21) Devonshire MSS, Chatsworth, 'Chatsworth--1953, Complete Inventory of Furniture & Household Effects as at Nov 1950 (Unchecked)'.

(22) I am grateful to Clare Browne and Anna Jolly for this information.

(23) National Archives (NA), Kew.

(24) A Crimson damask bed was also made for the royal yacht (Fubbs yacht), NA LC9/287, No. 63, fol. 92 (Phin).

(25) Thomas Phill was in partnership with Jeremiah Hetcher at this time. Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, eds, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986, p. 694; Geoffrey Beard, Upholsterers & Interior Furnishing in England 1530-1840, London, 1997, pp. 145-47.

(26) Beard, op. cir., p. 149.

(27) NA LC9/287, Bills from Michaelmas 1725, No. 47, fol. 113.

(28) Adam Bowett, 'George I's Furniture at Kensington Palace', APOLLO, vol. CLXII, no. 525 (Nov. 2005), pp. 37-46.

(29) Ibid. See Impey, op.cit., pp. 55 73.

(30) NA LC9/286,No. 46, fol. 102 (Roberts); No. 69, fol. 106 (Phill). The valance of the Chatsworth bed was lined with taffeta.

(31) The mention of one elbow chair and one easy chair in the bedroom is striking. The 1811 Chatsworth inventory, however, listed mahogany seat furniture, not walnut--they must have been made later than the bed--and their description is different. They can no longer be identified.

(32) Only one 'Easy Elbow chair' (with 12 square stools) was supplied with the 1723 bed, making it possible that the 1719 suite of seat furniture might be those listed in item 2 of the perquisities. It was tempting to track other items on the list but their descriptions are too vague for serious identification.

(33) NA LC9/287 (see Appendix).

(34) The bed base was changed when the posts were replaced with mahogany ones in the 19th century. The base rails now have cut-outs for bed slats,

(35) Macquoid, op.cit.; Avray Tipping, op.cit. The vase on the headboard is unlikely to be in its original position, but there would have been some form of carved ornament here.

(36) The posts were probably originally cased in fabric. In 1731, Sarah Gilbert, upholsterer, charged for altering a crimson damask bed in the Duke of Cumberland's new apartment at St James's: 'For new Covering the Pedestalls to the base Moldings and Covering the Footposts': NA LC9/288, No. 14, fol. 50.

(37) Lucy Wood makes a stylistic and constructional comparison between the Dyrham and Chatsworth beds in her forthcoming book The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery,, London, 2008, cat. no. 98, pp. 934-35.

(38) Bowett, op.cit.

(39) Devonshire MSS, Chatsworth, 'The Inventory of the furniture at Chats worth, 1764'. Contents noted in the Gun room include 'a Large Leather Mattress wth. The head Board, Teaster & Cornish upon it, belonging to a Crimson damask Bed in ye. Wardrobe? I am grateful to Hannah Obee for this reference. The 1811 inventory records a leather mattress on the bed.

(40) All three of George I's beds mentioned had 2 fustian, and 1 thick and 1 thin (quilt) satin mattress.

(41) NA LC9/287 No 10, fol. 59. (Hawgood) and No 5, fol. 55 (Phill).

(42) Macquoid, op.cit.

(43) For a transcription of bills relating to other rooms in George I's apartment at Kensington, see Bowett, op. cit.

Annabel Westman is a textile historian and adviser on textiles in historic interiors. She is director of studies for the Attingham Trust, founded in 1952 for the study of historic houses.
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