If we are asked to conjure up an image of what an early English bed should look like, most of us will think of a heavily carved and turned oak four poster. For over four hundred years, this impressive piece of antique furniture took centre stage in any wealthy household where the owners were out to impress. Large country houses of the time would all have versions of the four poster which were set aside for royalty and examples can still be seen today in stately homes throughout the country. Through the 17th and 18th centuries these beds became even more impressive in their embellishments and rich embroidered drapes and these pieces were prized possessions within families and were often passed down from one generation to another.
It was the Industrial Revolution that saw a temporary twilight of these large impressive wooden beds. In the general muck and filth of industrialised Britain, the brass bedstead was considered to be more hygienic and many four poster beds were broken up, although pieces kept and remodelled much later during the Victorian era when revivals of old pieces were popular. From 1850 onwards, it was the status again of the early four posters that appealed to Victorian sensibilities and the growing middle classes wanted to emulate for themselves the aristocratic family lineages of previous generations by owning a four poster bed. Retailers such as Gillows (originally of Lancaster) and Heals all produced true revivals of these highly prized older pieces of antique furniture.
Selections of period and revival antique beds and other pieces of antique furniture can be viewed by contacting antiques dealers in Lancashire, as well as other parts of the UK.
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