In the 19th century, elegant sofa or daybeds ornately decorated with gilt ornaments and lush draperies were often referred to as “French” beds. This color plate features an 1809 sofa bed or daybed lavished with blue silk and velvet draperies.
The frame of this imposing Regency bed is of mahogany decorated with ornaments executed in metal gilt. The cushion, bolsters, and ends are elegantly covered with white satin edged in blue satin to correspond with the drapery suspended over the couch. The frame has ornaments in gold-colored velvet and a gold-colored silk fringe is fixed on the scrolls.
The regal canopy suspended over the bed is composed of ornamented gold moldings and a Vitrurian scroll occupying the frieze. The whole of these are carved in wood and gilt, the ground being of blue velvet. The majestic dome is composed of bold quilling and covered with blue satin, then surmounted with a carved and gilt coronet.
The flowing draperies hanging from the dome are of blue satin, lined with white lute-string, and trimmed with a narrow gold edging. A deep valance, after the Grecian style, is of blue velvet bordered with gold-colored velvet and ornaments. Lavish French fringe and tassels complete this graceful sofa bed.
This style furniture is placed on a platform covered with carpet the same as the room. A pedestal, painted as marble, is placed on one side, serving as a table. For convenience, the dome of the bed has a strong iron plate attached to it, with hooks, which slip into sockets fixed to the wall, whereby it may be put up and taken down at pleasure, leaving only the sofa.
The image above highlights Victorian beds of similar design. The 1840 Workwoman’s Guide provided clear line drawings illustrating the proper method of making Victorian bed draperies for the French pole bed, arrow bed, block bed, and canopy bed. This style can be recreated today to add a timeless elegance to your bedroom.
Above: The AFK Bed Crown with gold gilding features a sweeping garland design that is hand-painted and rubbed with a gold finish that replicates the ornate style of the French bed shown. If you like the look but would prefer a less lavish look, the bed crown is available in several finish options.