Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Bed - The Corbet Bed

The Corbet Bed

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1593 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    carved walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

On loan to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Shropshire

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.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1593 (made)



Materials and Techniques

carved walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak

Marks and inscriptions

This possibly refers to Reynold Corbet, Justice of the Common Pleas for Elizabeth I

Probable year of manufacture


Height: 88 in, Length: 95 in, Width: 68 in, Length: 2460 mm including columns, Length: 2100 mm excluding bed posts, Height: 1950 mm to top of column, Height: 2330 mm base of column to top of tester, Width: 1730 mm including bed posts, Width: 1450 mm excluding bed posts, Width: 1580 mm headboard

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

bedstead of walnut inlaid with holly and bog oak and inscribed 'R.C.', England, 1593

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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.

Labels and date

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]


Walnut; Holly; Bog oak


Inlay; Carving

Subjects depicted



Furniture; Woodwork

Production Type



Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.