Saturday, January 26, 2008

{ Campaign Beds }

What is the history of campaign furniture? The invention of campaign furniture – meaning furniture made for travel –was designed for military and naval use. It grew in tandem with the growth of the British Empire and its colonies in the second half of the eighteenth century. The Napoleonic era is probably the best know for examples of campaign furniture which were designed to be dismantled for travel and assembled at the end of the journey.

Ever wonder why these beds are so dreamy, maybe it is because they have their origins in travel to foreign and exotic destinations. I am imagining that the canopy held fabrics that helped to keep out all sort of bugs and protect somewhat against the elements.

Happy Weekend.....Happy dreaming

Reference Books:
The first English pattern book references to the subject occur in Ince and Mayhew’s book The Universal System of Household Furniture (1759–1762), with two designs for folding sofa-beds and a field bed. Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director (1762) illustrates six designs for field beds with folding hinged slats, and Thomas Sheraton illustrates a design for a ‘sofa bed’ in The Cabinet Dictionary (1803).

Postscript Jan 30/08
An Aesthete's Lament has left a comment that I thought was so good I wanted to include it in the main post: "Some of the beds featured seem to be versions of the iron beds that were used in 18th-century France and moved from house to house by the nobility (obviously they could have been used in campaign or expeditionary situations as well). Such beds were considered less prone to insect infestation, et cetera. Typically, the light iron framework would be covered with curtains and fabric and folderol, rather in the manner of a lit à la polonaise; these could be moved and packed away should the owner decide to relocate from his city house to his country house, et cetera. The first time I ever saw one of these iron beds without its draperies was in the apartment of the French decorator Jacques Grange, where I once visited. In his bedroom, the lit à la polonaise just stood there, utterly stark, its ironwork frame like calligraphy written in the air. The company Oly makes a lovely version of these, called the Walker bed.