Leeds nostalgia: 300-year-old bed that came back home

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Plush, lavish and luxurious, Temple Newsam’s crimson state bed is well and truly fit for a queen.

The eye-catching bed is more than 300 years old and was commissioned in 1711 by John, 1st Earl Poulett as part of a concerted effort to impress his monarch, Queen Anne, who had given him the prestigious job of Lord Steward of the Household.

The bed was originally the centrepiece of the opulent state bedroom at the Earl’s home of Hinton House in Somerset, where he had renamed an entire suite of rooms in the Queen’s honour.

In fact, so desperate was the Earl to find favour with his Queen that when his third son was born in 1711 he even named him Anne.

A hundred years after its creation the bed was reduced in height and new posts were added before it was sold in 1910 to Lord Anglesey and installed at his house Beaudesert, Staffordshire.

It was acquired by Temple Newsam in 1981 where, in 2011 experts began an extensive restoration programme to restore the dilapidated bed to its former glory.

Today the bed is once again draped in crimson velvet and gold lace and covered by a canopy that weighs almost a ton, and which is suspended from the ceiling at Temple Newsam.

The restoration project also saw several of its wooden features re-carved including feet and cornices and the bed’s three mattresses- one wool, one horse hair and one feather- all replaced.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said: “This extraordinary bed is a unique window into the lavish and extravagant lifestyles of people who were once fortunate enough to live in the beautiful surrounding of places like Temple Newsam.

“We’re very fortunate to have spectacular objects like this on display in Leeds and that’s testament to the skill and dedication of those who work so hard to restore and preserve them.”

For more details about Temple Newsam, visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsamhouse