Lavishly decorated 18th century state bed returns to Kedleston Hall after lengthy restoration
This eighteenth century four poster bed with its ornate silks, golden brocades and gilded carvings recently returned to the lavish state apartments at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire following a thirty year restoration.
One of the first neoclassical houses to be built in Britain, Kedleston was designed and built between 1759 and 1765 by Robert Adam who went on to become one of the most important British architects of all time.
The opulent bed – also designed by Adam – is believed to have been made by Kedleston’s carvers under Derby carver James Gravenor in 1768.
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The restoration of the 11 state rooms of the hall, which was designed by Adam as a spectacular show house for his client Nathaniel Curzon, has taken countless skilled carvers, gilders, painters and conservators over a quarter of a century to complete. And the bed is one of the centrepieces when visitors are invited back in on
However over time it had become badly damaged and extensive work was needed to repair broken carvings and flaking gilding, and replace silk upholstery and handmade gold lace and braid.
Describing it as “the jewel in the crown of Kedleston Hall’s furniture”, Kedleston’s Conservation Manager, Simon McCormack, said “the bed is by far the most magnificent item on the state floor, which was designed as a lavish entertaining space for 18th century guests of the Curzon family.”
The state apartments were designed purely for entertainment and to impress the Curzons’ guests and visiting tourists and were never intended for comfort or day–to-day living.
“Within the state floor is a three-room state apartment, in which the bed took centre stage,” added McCormack. “Beds such as these were designed in the hope of a Royal visit, although sadly this never took place at Kedleston.
Over 1500 metres of bespoke silk damask have been hung on the walls in the three-room state apartment alone
“Of all the luxurious materials deployed at Kedleston, the most expensive were reserved for the state bed with its gold lace and braid, and it was easily the biggest item of furniture created for the house.”
Using archive material, designs from surviving scraps of the original fabric and cutting edge technology to analyse paint samples, a team of highly skilled traditional craftsmen has spent the last 30 years bringing the original collections, precious gilt furniture and works of art back to life.
Demanding an incredible attention to detail, over 1500 metres of bespoke silk damask have been hung on the walls in the three-room state apartment alone in the project, which was funded by visitor donations and grants from the Royal Oak Foundation and the John Cornforth Memorial Appeal.
Kedleston Hall - National Trust
Neo-classical mansion with Adam interiors, landscape gardens and park Masterpiece of neo-classical architecture, designed by Robert Adam. * Luxurious state rooms * Eastern Museum filled with the collections of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India * Lovely gardens, with celebrated displays of azaleas and rhododendrons (June) * Open parkland with cascades…