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Bedhead for Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves

From Simon Thurley’s, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England: Architecture and Court Life, 1460-1547:


Painted oak bedhead, 1539. The importance of this fragment of bed can be hardly overstated: it is the only surviving piece of furniture that can be certainly ascribed to Henry VIII’s court. The bedhead retains its original polychrome decoration with the date 1539 and the initials HA. This is highly significant as Henry and Anne of Cleves were married on the last day of 1539, or the first day of 1540. This bed must have therefore been made in anticipation of the event. Either side of the headboard are male and female figures in armour. Above the male figure is a licentious putto, and above the female is a pregnant one. In the case of Henry’s marriage to Anne, neither the bed nor its suggestive carvings were to be enough to bring about marital bliss


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Taken on February 3, 2009