A four poster bed is an imposing object in any room regardless of the size. Traditionally, due to their size and stature they were very popular among the royals and rich and wealthy landowners in England over the centuries, however, as time and ideas have progressed they have become readily available to the general public and can come in any material. Oak was the first material used and due to them being found in many castles around the country so naturally it would make sense to assume that they are an English piece of furniture, however, according to many historians, they were actually first made in Austria. Before they were discovered at the end of the 13th century, British landowners and aristocrats actually slept on boards that were set to trestles with a mattress on top. Before this, the Saxons had their bed made up against a wall with an extremely rough mattress. It was a type of bunk or cabin that had curtains drawn to keep out draughts, but if you weren’t high class you would sleep on the floor. So naturally when the four poster bed was discovered it became popular very quickly!
Early four poster beds were straightforward and uncomplicated in their design and mainly just comprised of the boards, mattress, quilts and frame, the large canopy was added slightly later at the start of the 13th century. Even after the canopy was added, it wasn’t attached to the frame but rather was suspended from the ceiling. The four poster was officially born when the canopy was attached to the frame and curtains were added. This was purely practical due to the fact that people needed warmth and the curtain did in fact stop draughts, castles were known for being the warmest of environments. Furthermore, the only people who were sleeping on them at this time were nobles and they would have had their servants sleep on the floor in the room, so the curtains also gave them that added privacy. Once the four poster began to rise in notoriety, the design began to take shape and depending on class and place of origin, we saw a vast difference in style.
This was when the four poster bed was tapped up by the British royals and nobility. The Tudor four poster was incredibly grandiose and had thick pillars with ornate designs carved into them, such as their coat of arms, floral designs and symbols, knights and much more. The higher the status of the owner the more ornate, heavy and large the bed would be, during this period, the motto was: if you have it flaunt it. Because of this, if you were of high class, nobility or royal, your bed would be extremely heavy and large, the pillars would be thick and they would be carved with your coat of arms and skillfully painted on top. Originally, all beds were made from oak or walnut but as time went on as stated earlier as time went on styles changed to suit where you were from, for example the French went for more elegant styles using woods like mahogany, and in more recent times makers have started to use materials such as iron or brass.
1st Option have a wide selection of four poster beds ranging across all styles ranging from your more elaborate, traditional styles like at our property The Boltons or Eltham Court. Both are made from oak and feature large pillars with curtains and have the canopy on top. To more modern and quirky designs like at Aldersbrook or Madeira which are made with metal frames and don’t feature curtains or a canopy above your head.