Chinoiserie in the Bedroom

Posted in today in light of the 18th century by Editor on November 25, 2009

John Linnell, Badminton Bed, ca. 1754 (London: V&A)

Today at Style Court, Courtney Barnes addresses four-poster beds, including John Linnell’s exquisite Badminton Bed, ca. 1754, from the collection of the Victoria and Albert. A design blog with a focus on interiors, Style Court regularly covers a variety of artistic topics with an interest in bridging the worlds of the academy and the museum for a wider, general public.

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From the V&A’s website:

The exotic form of this bed was inspired by Chinese pagodas. The design and the pierced fretwork back are similar to garden tea pavilions built in the Chinese style and found in large gardens throughout Britain and Europe from about 1730. Chinese decoration was particularly popular for ladies’ bedrooms and dressing rooms.

Although the payments for the bed and other bedroom furniture were made jointly by the 4th Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, evidence in the Duchess’s private notebooks shows that she was particularly interested in this commission and probably discussed the details with the designer and craftsman John Linnell and his father William Linnell.

The bed hangings had been replaced with scarlet woollen hangings by 1835, although the bedding still included the original 18th-century hair mattress which was acquired with the bed by the Museum in 1921. In addition there was a feather bed, three blankets, a wool mattress, a straw paliasse (another form of mattress) and a Marsella quilt. In 1929 a replica of the bed was made for the Chinese Bedroom at Badminton House by Angell of Bath.

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