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Imaginary Bedstead

September 7th, 2008

Daniel Pontius

A bed can contain the whole life story. From the welcoming of love or death or birth, to everything in betweeen. The bed functions as an object of utility as a place to work to play to rest. In thinking about where I could sleep in my Imaginary Home, I am torn between a massive bedstead, and something perhaps simpler and more modern–an upholstered day bed. I have a warm regard for daybeds. Idling away hours, paging through my dictionary, staring out my window, sipping a milky cup of coffee, what could be better–if only a servant to bring food. As a former client Miss. M said of her own idling and work habits in bed, “If I can be horizontal, I am.”
A bedstead of course allows for curtains where as a daybed does not. As an object of the imagination, I have always loved the romance and secrecy of a curtained bed. They further enhance a beds general suggestion of safety, warmth, comfort, & separation–one could imagine embowered in cloth, in an other world of aerial dreams.
The answer maybe an alcove bed. It typically has the 3 sides of the daybed and they often have curtains. A notable alcove bed is Mr. J’s hybrid-alcove at Monticello. (Some might think having access to both sides novel but he like many politicos, wanted to have his cake and eat it too).
I love the tradition of the alcove bed as it is slid into the wall and is almost hid away. Mine, I think must have windows–at the foot and at the side–and cubbies within arms length at the peripheral.
Photos:
1. “Room from the Hart House,” 1680, Ipswich, Massachusetts.
3. “Birth of the Virgin” Vittore Carpaccio, 1504–8, Oil on canvas.

One Comment

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  1. Anonymous #
    September 16, 2008

    The Hart House bed looks like something a man named Marshal might sleep in. Or write in. Or daydream in.

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