The Corbet Bed thumbnail 1
The Corbet Bed thumbnail 2
+5
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

The Corbet Bed

Bed
1593 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

On loan to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Shropshire


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
carved walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak
Brief Description
bedstead of walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak and inscribed 'R.C.', England, 1593
Physical Description
Bedstead, walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak. The carved and inlaid head-board of architectural character has pilasters, brackets, and inlaid sunk panels; the panelled tester with elaborately carved and moulded cornice is supported by two bulbous, gadrooned and fluted bed posts with square bases and large Ionic capitals. These stand clear of the bedstock, the frame of which has vertical holes for the bed-staves used to retain the bedclothes in position. The frieze of the head board is inlaid with the initials R. C., and the date 1593.
Dimensions
  • Height: 88in
  • Length: 95in
  • Width: 68in
  • Including columns length: 2460mm
  • Excluding bed posts length: 2100mm
  • To top of column height: 1950mm
  • Base of column to top of tester height: 2330mm
  • Including bed posts width: 1730mm
  • Excluding bed posts width: 1450mm
  • Headboard width: 1580mm
Original measurements taken from John Hungerford Pollen, Ancient and Modern Furniture and Woodwork in the South Kensington Museum, (South Kensington Museum, London, 1876)
Style
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • R.C. (This possibly refers to Reynold Corbet, Justice of the Common Pleas for Elizabeth I)
  • 1593 (Probable year of manufacture)
Gallery Label
BED ENGLISH; 1593 Walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak The headboard, tester, and bed posts are elaborately carved. The frieze of the headboard is inlaid with the date 1593 and the initials R.C. carved on the headboard and inlaid on the frieze of the tester are crows, the punning crest of the family of Corbet of Moreton Corbet Castle, near Shrewsbury, whose property the bed originally was.(pre October 2000)
Object history
This bedstead was formerly the property of the family of Corbet, of Moreton Corbet Castle, near Shrewsbury. The back, in addition to the initials R.C., has carved upon its console brackets a figure of a crow or corbeau, the Corbet crest, which is also inlaid in bog oak upon three sides of the cornice of the tester.



Purchased by the Museum in 1867 from William Chaffers, a prominent London-based collector, dealer of curiosities and the author of several books on antiques. The price was £50 (RP 17135/66).

A memo dated June 26th 1866 by J.C. Robinson notes:

"The carved oak bedstead, sent on loan or on approval by Mr Chaffers, might be left at present on the former footing. The slender balance of the current year grant will be required for objects of more importance, or which more urgently call for immediate consideration. Its purchase might perhaps be taken into account at a more favourable time but Mr Chaffers should be plainly given to understand that the museum in [indeciph.] it on loan, is not in any way pledged to its ultimate purchase."



At some time after 1929 it was displayed with the crewel work hangings (museum no. T.13-1929). Black and white photographs of this set-up are on VADAR, under the number of the hangings.



On long-term loan to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery since 1982. Displayed at Rowley's House, Shrewsbury, 1982-2013. Moved to new premises in the Old Music Hall, Shrewsbury in September 2013.

Subject depicted
Association
Summary
On loan to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Shropshire
Bibliographic References
  • H. Avray Tipping, 'English Walnut Tree Furniture of Elizabeth's Reign', Country Life, Nov. 12 1921, pp.623-6
  • Pollen, John Hungerford. 'Ancient and Modern C. London: Published for the Science and Art Department of the Committee of Council on Education, by Chapman & Hall, 1874.
  • Foley, Edwin, The Book of Decorative Furniture, 2 vols, London: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1919, vol.I, p. 100, illustrated with a line drawing, without commentary.
  • The Corbet Bed Project - A story signed in Silk. The Corbet Bed and the creation of its 'historic' hangings (2017, The Corbet Bed Embroiderers' Trust)
  • Cescinsky, Herbert and Ernest Gribble, Early English Furniture and Woodwork. II vols. London: Waverley Books, 1922, vol. I, p. 355, fig. 386 and pp. 368-9
  • Susannah Glynn, 'The Fabric of History', Country Life, 15 April 2009, p. 74.
  • Esther, Singleton, The Furniture of our Forefathers. New York, Doubleday, Page & Co., 1913, photograph as frontispiece.
Collection
Accession Number
316-1867

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMay 1, 2001
Record URL