Where would a Dilettante be without his readers?  Tracing design sources is a great interest of mine, but sometimes the answers elude me.  When I mentioned in last week's post that the remarkable bed of former Red Sox owner Thomas Yawkey rang a faint bell, but I couldn't remember why, Toby Worthington stepped up to the plate, as it were, with the answer:
The Yawkey bed was based on plate 41 in Thomas Sheraton's The Cabinet Maker's and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, published in 1791---"A Summer Bed in Two Compartments". (above)

Thomas Yawkey's bedroom at 992 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, photographed in 1935 (MCNY)
Sheraton, along with his near contemporary Thomas Hepplewhite, and the earlier Thomas Chippendale, was one of the three great furniture designers (four, if one counts the architect Robert Adam, who often had Chippendale execute his designs), and like the others, spread his style and fame by publishing pattern books that could be used by other cabinetmakers.   

Designs for bed posts from Thomas Chippendale's  The Cabinet-Maker's  Directory
Just as with the architectural pattern books of the era, like Asher Benjamin's American Builder's Companion, these books provided suggested designs, often with mix or match options, along with rules for achieving correct proportions, that helped many a provincial cabinetmaker turn out pieces of compelling beauty, rarely making a wrong move.

Two bed designs, with suggestions for hangings, by Thomas Chippendale
 The Yawkey bed does not appear to be antique in the photos, but rather a decorator's inspiration carried out by a talented cabinetmaker.   Rather than the neo-classical design of Sheraton's bed, the rococco cornice details are earlier, and more Chippendale in inspiration. as seen in the plates above from Thomas Chippendales The Cabinetmaker's Directory.
Cornice designs by Chippendale

Readers may remember the Chinoiserie bedroom in 'Huntland', the Joseph Thomas house in Virginia, with its dramatic bed later owned by Doris Duke, the design taken directly from plates in Chippendale's Directory.

The bedroom at 'Huntland', and  design sources for the bed, below

Plates from Chippendale's Director from Metropolitan Museum website


The Devoted Classicist said...

How fantastic! I, too, enjoy seeing the historic precedents or models for designs, along with how and why of the interpretation. Bravo to Toby Worthington!

Toby Worthington said...

Thank you, dear Dilettante, for carrying this topic through to its logical conclusion. Very impressive!!

columnist said...

Stepped up to the plate...tres amusant. And very interesting too.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Don't you just love blogging? Ask and ye shall receive! Bravo Toby!

The Ancient said...

Any evidence that Sheraton's Summer Bed was ever built at the time?

P.S. TW -- Very impressive.

Madaboutinteriors said...

There is one other such bed design that I know of from the 18th century (two single beds under one big canopy ) : by Robert Adam . It was meant for lord Derby's house in Grosvenor Square in 1775, and had a huge dome with Pomeian decorations and large swags. Like the Sheraton design it was a bit mad really and i have no idea whether it was ever executed.

Donna said...

My husband and I were just talking about twin beds this morning after watching Hitchcock last night--he's not a fan, but I am: love this draped example!

soodie :: said...

i * believe* the second elevation of the Thomas Chippendale bed you posted was originally designed for the Earl of Dumfries House in Scotland to attract a new bride. Chippendale's design was so successful (but not the Lord Dumfries second marriage) that the design was published in 1762.

I love this post. thank you!