Naylor Antiques

Early American Furnishings

Pair of American Federal Figured Maple Beds; c.1815

a rare pair of Federal tiger and birds-eye maple tester beds; American, c.1815; the turned and reeded posts are based on a typical combination of Hepplewhite’s and Sheraton’s designs; while maple beds of such delicate proportions are generally attributed to New England, the use of tulip poplar for the canopy frames indicates a possible Mid-Atlantic origin; all four posts being reeded also alludes to a non-New England manufacture; a traditional “rule of thumb” surmises that more frugal New England makers would often carve reeding into the foot posts only, leaving the less prominent head posts plain, sometimes foregoing turned posts entirely for the economy of simple pencil posts at the head, more likely to be covered by hangings (scroll down for example); the figured maple rails, now appended with iron “L” brackets to receive a box spring, are original based on the irregularly round nut mortise plugs inset into their original rectangular, chisel-cut mortises (see image below); in all likelihood, each rail had its original rope pegs and corresponding mortises trimmed off to facilitate modern mattresses, probably at the same time replacement bed bolts and nuts were added; provenance: from the early 20th Century collection of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Gibbs of “Tyrconnell”, Baltimore; dimensions: 79 3/4″ tall at crest of canopy x 79 1/2″ long x 43 1/8″ wide 


The side rails have obviously been replaced. (Christie’s, Wednesday, June 22, 1994)