Four-poster bed said of Francis I
Signed at the foot of the sculpture Mars: E.Delorme
Coat of arms in the center of the headboard: EMR
Overall measures: H.258 - L.171 - 235 cm
Internal measures: L.143.5 - P.204 cm
Spectacular four-poster bed said by Francis I in carved walnut with the allegory of war and love. It is composed of four cattails connected by four crosspieces continuing by baluster legs. The head cattails are decorated with two warriors carved in the round identified as Mars and Bellona. At the foot of Mars, an E.Delorme signature is identifiable, probably Eugénie Delorme, a 19th century woman sculptor. The stem cattails feature an overlay of baluster, barrel and ring patterns enriched with plant ornaments. They also support the bed canopy made up of alternating modillions and masks connected by garlands and forming a cornice. Finally, the bedside has a richly sculpted decoration in relief of various floral and plant motifs in garlands and windings, of a lion's head, dolphins, masks, drapes and chimeras. Two putti support a garland of flowers overhanging an EMR coat of arms.
Muriel Barbier, Heritage Curator, Collections Inspector at Mobilier National / National Manufactures, wrote an article "Historical beds. First anthology of European beds from the 15th to the 19th century" in In Situ, la Revue des patrimoines.
Here is an exerpt :
"The National Renaissance Museum (Écouen) keeps a bed (inv. E. Cl. 113) that Alexandre Du Sommerard claimed to have bought from a Savoyard bishop who had himself acquired it in Paris during a sale of 'objects from the former Garde-Meuble de la Couronne. The oldest description of this bed dates from 1834 and presents it as a Renaissance masterpiece. At the Cluny museum, the bed is staged in a room known as “of François Ier” and takes over time the name of “bed of François Ier.” Subsequently, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the bed is published as an exceptional example of Renaissance furniture In the majority of publications, the myth forged by Alexandre Du Sommerard is repeated and very rarely questioned. In all these publications the "bed of François Ier" is alternately illustrated by engravings or by photographs, adorned with Gondi fabrics. Lesdiguières (inv. E. Cl. 1204) or another bed set. Reservations have since been issued as to the dating of this piece of furniture. In addition, the analogies of this bed with the engravings of furniture by Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau and the heterogeneous treatment of the sculpture between the parts of the furniture allow us to formulate the hypothesis of an assembly of elements from various origins. Finally, in the perspective of the creation of a new museum set, the "bed of François Ier" raises the question of the options of curators, restorers and upholsterers in terms of textile restitution, for a clearly eclectic bed. "
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Four-poster bed known as Francis I, carved walnut, 19th century