The Marriage Bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York: A Masterpiece of Tudor Craftsmanship [Hardback]

Peter N. Lindfield (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781789257922 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2023 | Language: English 184p, H246 x W189 (mm) B/w and colour

The Marriage Bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York


The Henry VII and Elizabeth of York marriage bed, rediscovered in 2010, is an exceptional piece of late medieval English royal furniture: no other equivalent example of secular domestic furniture is known to have survived, and, indeed, precious little woodwork from this period remains outside of ecclesiastical settings. As a tour-de-force of medieval royal woodwork, the bed offers an unprecedented insight into elite domestic furniture from this period.

Since its rediscovery, the bed has been subjected to a wide array of investigation by furniture specialists, medieval historians, design historians and scientists. Emerging from a decade-long multidisciplinary research project, this book is the first sustained account of the bed: it shows how numerous disciplines covering the arts and conservation sciences can be brought together to assess and interpret such rare historic survivals.

Broken down into thematic chapters, the book explores the bed’s form and structure, context, iconography, wood, paint, physical history, provenance – including its curious reproduction by George Shaw in Victorian England – and relationship with known surviving Tudor furniture, as well as Georgian and Victorian Gothic Revival beds. Although thought to be a 19th-century fake, this book presents historical, archival and scientific evidence to show, beyond doubt, the bed’s late medieval age.

Whilst grounded upon research presented at a 2019 conference funded by the Institute of Conservation and held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the book incorporates additional historical and scientific discoveries made since the conference. Written by a range of scientists, historians and specialist researchers, this volume is a multi-disciplinary work of immeasurable value to readers from numerous disciplines.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Elizabeth Norton
1. Introduction
Peter N. Lindfield
2. Discovery and Conservation
Ian Coulson
3. Historical Context, Commissioning, and Provenance
Peter N. Lindfield and Ian Coulson
4. Iconography and Design: Meaning, Complexity, and Context
Peter N. Lindfield
5. Gothic Beds, the Antiques Trade, and Reproduction
Peter N. Lindfield
6. Paint Analysis
Helen Hughes
7. Dendrochronological Analysis
Andy Moir
8. DNA Analysis
Hilke Schroeder and Lasse Schindler
9. Afterword

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