Monday, 23 February 2009

Pictures of Beds - 12th Century of course!

Some pictures of 12th C beds, for Amalie, who made almost exactly the tent I want, so I'm hoping she'll make the bed I want and then I can find someone to make a copy of her prototype :-). The other pictures of people sleeping show what may be simple pallets on the ground, people just wrapped in cloaks of blankets, pictures which smudge out the details of what they are lying on, and people lying on beds that look like slabs with no upright features. These depictions of beds are all fairly similar in construction, and look lightweight enough to use for camping, indeed one is shown in a tent below. Notice how these beds often double as couches.

Bede "Life of St. Cuthbert" (British Library Yates Thompson 26)
Durham; last quarter of 12th century
Images online here and there, with lots of beds in it.

f21. The dying Boisil instructs St. Cuthbert, and prophesies things which were to come to him.

f.80 A paralytic is healed by contact with one of St. Cuthbert's shoes

f61. A sick man is healed with bread which St. Cuthbert had blessed

f33v. St. Cuthbert drives out a devil from the wife of Hildmaer, a prefect of King Ecgfrid

f54. After St. Cuthbert's election to the bishopric, an earl's servant is cured by water blessed by the saint

f58v. The wife of an earl is cured, after a monk sprinkles her with holy water sent by St. Cuthbert

Admont Bible (├ľsterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien. Cod. ser. nov. 2701)
Salzberg early 12th C

I've rambled about this manuscript before.
f18. The story of Hoshea

Copenhagen Psalter (Kongelige Bibliotek Thott 143 2┬║)
England, 1175-1200.
f9v Nativity

Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen University Library MS 24)
England around 1200

f57r The Caladrius looks at a sick person, takes the illness upon itself and flies away with the disease to the sun.
I quite like this one - a couch and bed combined, the rails at the back, as well as acting as backrests, could be used to hang clothing over. Although they may limit how close the bed can be placed to sloping tents walls.

Skylitz chonicles (Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid Bibl. Nac. vitr. 26-2)
mid-12th mid-13th century,

Look how large the bed is compared to the tent.

Winchester psalter (British Library MS Cotton Nero C.IV)
f 29. The Death of the Virgin

Worchester Chronicle (Oxford, Corpus Christi Library, MS 157)
Worchester Cathedral Priory, England, c1130-40

The Visions of Henry I in Normandy
This bed is a different style - we can't see the legs properly, but the bed head is a solid piece, instead of two poles and a crossbar.


amalie said...

Ooo beds! Thank you! I will send you the plans for the tent soon- we have misplaced the original plans so will have to measure the actual tent...

Teffania said...

My pleasure. I've a few more pictures of beds to sort, but there's nothing particularly different to this lot.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this article on making "period" ish (I don't know if its exactly the same period, but it seems to me some of those pictures could be similar rope beds, and some probably aren't. (Or could be with a mattress on top.)?

Teffania said...

I hadn't seen the article, but I have seen the picture. I was waiting to find my copy of the picture and try to sort out the 8/9th C vs 13th C date conundrum (art historians give wildly differing dates for it in different sources) and post it in part 2 of beds.

A friend has interpreted that picture as a sprang rope meshing. Because the dowel is utterly integral to sprang. I'm facinated by her sprang beds, and so want to try my own. But on looking at the picture again, I'm not sure if the picture supports it. I think the sprang bed does look more comfortable and simpler to thread than the normal rope bead threading patterns - dependant on being able to do sprang of course.

Teffania said...

ps. thanks for thelink!

David Rayner said...

The Aberdeen Bestiary Caladrius image of about 1190 is indeed significant on several counts.
The Anglo-Norman word couche meant both a bed and a couch for sitting - this is clearly a good example of such a dual-purpose piece. Coutes were thin, padded mattresses which could serve as seats and were placed on top of the main feather-stuffed mattress.
Alexander Neckham's description of an aristocratic bedchamber mentions that "A perch should be nearby [the bed] on which can rest a hawk . . . From another pole let there hang clothing." Here the mythical Caladrius bird replaces the hunting hawk. (Neckham: De Nominibus Utensilium, circa 1180).

Teffania said...

Oh, thanks for the text from Neckam. This is exactly the kind of bed I'd love to have, so it's great to have more references to how they are used and confirmation that poles are for hanging clothing on.