A feat of the blacksmith’s art

This large, wrought iron, four-person bed from Italy is one of the most beautiful pieces in the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles. Devoid of all decoration and now just a simple empty frame, this bed has not been on show to the public for many years (1939). It has just been restored and decorated with appropriate linen.

It is a four-poster bed with a canopy or baldaquin. It comes from the Venice area and dates from the 16th century. The head consists of spindles and is crowned with a headpiece decorated with clematis. The spindles, a feat of the blacksmith’s art, are tipped with diamonds and mounted with four crests in the shape of bunches of clematis. An empty shield in the middle of the head would have contained the coat of arms or monogram of the owner, or perhaps a symbol of love, such as the two doves on a similar bed in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts