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Part of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Martin Carlin (French, near Freiburg im Breisgau ca. 1730–1785 Paris)
Date: ca. 1775Accession Number: 1976.155.99a, b
Georges Jacob (French, 1739–1814, master 1765)
Date: ca. 1782–83Accession Number: 23.235a
Date: ca. 1770, with one modern panelAccession Number: 1976.91.1
Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present)
Date: ca. 1760–61Accession Number: 54.147.20a–d, .21a–d
Date: ca. 1785Accession Number: 58.75.27
Clockmaker: Jean-Baptiste-André Furet (ca. 1720–1807, master 1746–89)
Date: ca. 1784Accession Number: 58.75.127
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Monumental in size and decorated with exquisite carving, textiles, and trim, state beds were among the costliest pieces of furniture to adorn seventeenth- and eighteenth-century interiors. They were not intended for resting or sleeping, but functioned instead as ostentatious settings where aristocrats could receive guests paying official visits on special occasions such as the birth of a child.
Dating to 1782–83, the bed's original Beauvais tapestry hangings are too fragile to be displayed and have been replaced by modern silk, but the inside of the domed canopy retains its original floral tapestry. According to a 1791 inventory, the bed—which belonged to the duchesse de Praslin, the wife of a statesman of Louis XV—was furnished with three mattresses, giving it a boxlike appearance. The piled-up bedding was quite high, making the use of bed steps necessary. The seating furniture placed along the walls was not meant to be used, demonstrating the formal nature of the room, while other pieces were more practical. The bedside table held the chamber pot. The multipurpose table near the barrier is equipped for dressing, breakfasting, and writing, and its upper section could be removed to serve as a bed tray.
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