Bed Time

From Susan/Miranda:

Blog_barbara_1That sly creature to the left is Barbara Villiers Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709).  Barbara was the mistress of King Charles II for nearly fifteen years, and as this portrait indicates, life was never dull when Barbara was around.  She’s the heroine of the book I just finished last month (Royal Harlot, to be released in July).  Considering how every other novel and history shows Barbara in a negative light, if not as the out-and-out villainess, I figure she owes me a bit of blog-inspiration in return.

And so, with Barbara in mind, I’ll write about beds.

I write on my bed.  I don’t even own a desk, let alone an office or a study.  I write  on a laptop, either in my car or on the bed.  Scattered round me I’ll have open research books and sleeping cats, Diet Pepsi, and perhaps a bag of M&Ms.  I know, I know, this breaks every ergonomic rule for writers, and orthopedists everywhere would look away in horror.

Yet no one would have looked askance if I were an English lady from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century,  (Especially not orthopedists, because they hadn’t been invented yet.)  Those ladies loved their beds.  Not only for the obvious reasons that Lady Castlemaine did –– her bed was her fortune, so to speak –– but because ladies did a great many other things there, too.  They read, and wrote letters, and took tea, and read lessons and prayers with children, and received friends while in their beds. 

A lady’s bed was like the throne of a king or queen, a splendid, costly, decorative piece of furniture to reinforce their social status.  Beds could be a cozy refuge in a drafty chamber that depended on a distant fireplace for heat.  They could display not only the lady herself, in her beribboned bed-cap, but also her skill with a needle, if she’d been the one to embroider the bed’s hangings.  A lady could be “brought to bed of a fine son”, a popular 18th century expression for childbirth, but she’d be mystified by “going to bed” as a twenty-first century euphemism for sex. 

Our lady’s bed would be more properly called a high bedstead –– the wooden frame itself, standing about two feet high or higher.  Tall posts, often elaborately carved or painted, stood at each corner of the bedstead, and supported the flat frame, or tester.  Curtains hung on horn or metal rings from a rail in the tester, and could be drawn close for warmth and privacy.  Over the curtains hung a narrow decorative valance, with a headcloth hanging down at the head of the bedstead.  The bedsteads and curtains grew more complicated with each generation, until a noble lady’s bedstead could have gilded woodwork, crests or shields, heavy silk tassels and swagged fringe along the valences, spangled silk curtains, carved urns on the posts, and plumes on the headboard.  (Bedsteads with curving high canopies that today we think of as vaguely “colonial” would have been called called field bedsteads –– a descendant of the folding beds used by army officers on campaigns, with the arching canopies inspired by their tents.)

The bed itself was what we’d call the mattress: a giant, flat pillow, stuffed with feathers and down.  The casing was called a bed tick, made of sturdy linen to prevent the feathers from escaping.  Beneath the feather-bed would be a mattress stuffed with hair or wool, with a straw-stuffed paliasse beneath this for additional height. These layers rested on rope “springs”, a loosely woven criss-cross inside the bedstead that needed frequent tightening with a crank-like device called a bed-jack (the forgotten meaning behind “sleep tight”.)  On the bed were sheets, a long pillow called a bolster that supported the pillows in their pillow-biers (cases), linen sheets, a woolen rug or blanket, and a coverlet.  With so many expensive components, it’s easy to see why the best bedchamber’s bedstead and “furnishings” are often among the first items listed in inventories, and why they’re specifically mentioned in wills, left from one generation to the next.

Bedsteads look short to modern eyes, leading to the incorrect conclusion that people used to be much shorter.  (Some were, true, but for the record, George Washington, Charles II, Peter the Great, and Thomas Jefferson were all over six feet tall; Princess Mary of Orange was 5’10”.)  Instead people slept in a sloping, half-sitting position, their heads and shoulders supported by the bolsters and pillows.  This was considered healthier, and probably was, too, in a time when nearly everyone suffered from chronic bronchitis from wood smoke.

So were these old beds comfortable? I’ve tried out a few, and to my contemporary bones, I’m afraid I’d have to answer a resounding NO.  They’re lumpy and unresiliant and creaky and  sink down into a perilous valley in the middle.  I doubt most of us would sleep at all, let alone enjoy all the other activities that our characters do.  As evocative as the experience would be, I don’t think I’d find much happiness writing on one with my laptop, either.

But for the Countess of Castlemaine and her king –– ahh, her smile says it all, doesn’t it?

What about you?  Do you make your bed the minute you jump from it, or do you use it as a respite throughout the day?  Or do you have any "bed-lore" of your own that you’d like to share?

116 thoughts on “Bed Time”

  1. I’m a bed-maker. I’ve actually thought “if people come into the house while we’re out, what would they think of an un-made bed?” Of course those people would be a thieves, so here I am trying to impress criminals.
    I read, write notes to myself and wrap presents on my bed. But I’ve got to sit at my pc to write. I read some advice somewhere that bedrooms should be used for sex and sleep only, so no doubt Barabara had the way of it!

    Reply
  2. I’m a bed-maker. I’ve actually thought “if people come into the house while we’re out, what would they think of an un-made bed?” Of course those people would be a thieves, so here I am trying to impress criminals.
    I read, write notes to myself and wrap presents on my bed. But I’ve got to sit at my pc to write. I read some advice somewhere that bedrooms should be used for sex and sleep only, so no doubt Barabara had the way of it!

    Reply
  3. I’m a bed-maker. I’ve actually thought “if people come into the house while we’re out, what would they think of an un-made bed?” Of course those people would be a thieves, so here I am trying to impress criminals.
    I read, write notes to myself and wrap presents on my bed. But I’ve got to sit at my pc to write. I read some advice somewhere that bedrooms should be used for sex and sleep only, so no doubt Barabara had the way of it!

    Reply
  4. I’m a bed-maker. I’ve actually thought “if people come into the house while we’re out, what would they think of an un-made bed?” Of course those people would be a thieves, so here I am trying to impress criminals.
    I read, write notes to myself and wrap presents on my bed. But I’ve got to sit at my pc to write. I read some advice somewhere that bedrooms should be used for sex and sleep only, so no doubt Barabara had the way of it!

    Reply
  5. Make my bed? Surely you jest, Susan/Miranda. It might get straightened out but rarely made, and not because I write there but because there’s a limit to my housewifery. But thank you for this facinating post. The bed was an entirely different thing in the past–and ours today, though more comfortable, do seem woefully standardized and utilitarian next to them.
    My favorite bed lore is the Great Bed of Ware, referred to in one of my books as an “edifice.” Built in the late 16 C for an inn, and nine foot square, it supposedly could accomodate from four couples to “twenty-six butchers and their wives.”

    Reply
  6. Make my bed? Surely you jest, Susan/Miranda. It might get straightened out but rarely made, and not because I write there but because there’s a limit to my housewifery. But thank you for this facinating post. The bed was an entirely different thing in the past–and ours today, though more comfortable, do seem woefully standardized and utilitarian next to them.
    My favorite bed lore is the Great Bed of Ware, referred to in one of my books as an “edifice.” Built in the late 16 C for an inn, and nine foot square, it supposedly could accomodate from four couples to “twenty-six butchers and their wives.”

    Reply
  7. Make my bed? Surely you jest, Susan/Miranda. It might get straightened out but rarely made, and not because I write there but because there’s a limit to my housewifery. But thank you for this facinating post. The bed was an entirely different thing in the past–and ours today, though more comfortable, do seem woefully standardized and utilitarian next to them.
    My favorite bed lore is the Great Bed of Ware, referred to in one of my books as an “edifice.” Built in the late 16 C for an inn, and nine foot square, it supposedly could accomodate from four couples to “twenty-six butchers and their wives.”

    Reply
  8. Make my bed? Surely you jest, Susan/Miranda. It might get straightened out but rarely made, and not because I write there but because there’s a limit to my housewifery. But thank you for this facinating post. The bed was an entirely different thing in the past–and ours today, though more comfortable, do seem woefully standardized and utilitarian next to them.
    My favorite bed lore is the Great Bed of Ware, referred to in one of my books as an “edifice.” Built in the late 16 C for an inn, and nine foot square, it supposedly could accomodate from four couples to “twenty-six butchers and their wives.”

    Reply
  9. Hello Susan/Miranda
    Thank you for such a warm, cozy and very informative topic. I must admit, I never thought of a bed as a profit center. But, then again, neither I can not lay claim to Lady Castlemaine’s sultry ‘come hither’ smile. I am defiantly looking forward to the book.
    As for my bed, I don’t write on mine. Neither do I eat, or watch TV upon it. It is not bespangled with bolsters, curtains or downy counterpanes. Sometimes the ‘maid’ manages to get around to tossing the covers up and sometimes not. My nightly presence in it can be equally infrequent. But my bed does give rest to my most precious possession. My pillow. If my house were burning down and I knew my family and pets were safe, I’d probably run back in just to save my pillow. Yup, it’s that special.
    But, back to bed… specifically the rules around bedroom activity. This week I was reading Captain Alexander Mercer’s journal he kept while traveling with Wellington’s army. At the end of his journey his wife, known only as ‘F’, joined him. Mercer made specific note of his French hostess’s utter distain at he and his wife’s habit of sleeping in the same bed. How popular was it for a man and wife to sleep separately? And why? (Considering the cold drafty chambers and all)
    Mercer also repeatedly mentions ‘wet sheets’, with obvious dislike. One is left wondering why there were wet.
    Nina

    Reply
  10. Hello Susan/Miranda
    Thank you for such a warm, cozy and very informative topic. I must admit, I never thought of a bed as a profit center. But, then again, neither I can not lay claim to Lady Castlemaine’s sultry ‘come hither’ smile. I am defiantly looking forward to the book.
    As for my bed, I don’t write on mine. Neither do I eat, or watch TV upon it. It is not bespangled with bolsters, curtains or downy counterpanes. Sometimes the ‘maid’ manages to get around to tossing the covers up and sometimes not. My nightly presence in it can be equally infrequent. But my bed does give rest to my most precious possession. My pillow. If my house were burning down and I knew my family and pets were safe, I’d probably run back in just to save my pillow. Yup, it’s that special.
    But, back to bed… specifically the rules around bedroom activity. This week I was reading Captain Alexander Mercer’s journal he kept while traveling with Wellington’s army. At the end of his journey his wife, known only as ‘F’, joined him. Mercer made specific note of his French hostess’s utter distain at he and his wife’s habit of sleeping in the same bed. How popular was it for a man and wife to sleep separately? And why? (Considering the cold drafty chambers and all)
    Mercer also repeatedly mentions ‘wet sheets’, with obvious dislike. One is left wondering why there were wet.
    Nina

    Reply
  11. Hello Susan/Miranda
    Thank you for such a warm, cozy and very informative topic. I must admit, I never thought of a bed as a profit center. But, then again, neither I can not lay claim to Lady Castlemaine’s sultry ‘come hither’ smile. I am defiantly looking forward to the book.
    As for my bed, I don’t write on mine. Neither do I eat, or watch TV upon it. It is not bespangled with bolsters, curtains or downy counterpanes. Sometimes the ‘maid’ manages to get around to tossing the covers up and sometimes not. My nightly presence in it can be equally infrequent. But my bed does give rest to my most precious possession. My pillow. If my house were burning down and I knew my family and pets were safe, I’d probably run back in just to save my pillow. Yup, it’s that special.
    But, back to bed… specifically the rules around bedroom activity. This week I was reading Captain Alexander Mercer’s journal he kept while traveling with Wellington’s army. At the end of his journey his wife, known only as ‘F’, joined him. Mercer made specific note of his French hostess’s utter distain at he and his wife’s habit of sleeping in the same bed. How popular was it for a man and wife to sleep separately? And why? (Considering the cold drafty chambers and all)
    Mercer also repeatedly mentions ‘wet sheets’, with obvious dislike. One is left wondering why there were wet.
    Nina

    Reply
  12. Hello Susan/Miranda
    Thank you for such a warm, cozy and very informative topic. I must admit, I never thought of a bed as a profit center. But, then again, neither I can not lay claim to Lady Castlemaine’s sultry ‘come hither’ smile. I am defiantly looking forward to the book.
    As for my bed, I don’t write on mine. Neither do I eat, or watch TV upon it. It is not bespangled with bolsters, curtains or downy counterpanes. Sometimes the ‘maid’ manages to get around to tossing the covers up and sometimes not. My nightly presence in it can be equally infrequent. But my bed does give rest to my most precious possession. My pillow. If my house were burning down and I knew my family and pets were safe, I’d probably run back in just to save my pillow. Yup, it’s that special.
    But, back to bed… specifically the rules around bedroom activity. This week I was reading Captain Alexander Mercer’s journal he kept while traveling with Wellington’s army. At the end of his journey his wife, known only as ‘F’, joined him. Mercer made specific note of his French hostess’s utter distain at he and his wife’s habit of sleeping in the same bed. How popular was it for a man and wife to sleep separately? And why? (Considering the cold drafty chambers and all)
    Mercer also repeatedly mentions ‘wet sheets’, with obvious dislike. One is left wondering why there were wet.
    Nina

    Reply
  13. Make my bed? Hahahahaha. I think the only time I make my bed up is when I’m having a party and I need it as a place for folks to toss their coats. It’s the Phillis Dille in me, why make it up today when I’m only going to mess it up again?
    I think my favorite 18th century bed is in Versaille. I wish I could find a pic of it online. It looks like a giant chair. It’s pink silk, and bolstered on three sides. A total playground of a bed.
    I’ll second Susan on the discomfort of a period bed. And they get even worse when you share them. If the ropes loosen (and they always seem to loosen) you end up trapped in the middle like you’re in a hammock. LOL!

    Reply
  14. Make my bed? Hahahahaha. I think the only time I make my bed up is when I’m having a party and I need it as a place for folks to toss their coats. It’s the Phillis Dille in me, why make it up today when I’m only going to mess it up again?
    I think my favorite 18th century bed is in Versaille. I wish I could find a pic of it online. It looks like a giant chair. It’s pink silk, and bolstered on three sides. A total playground of a bed.
    I’ll second Susan on the discomfort of a period bed. And they get even worse when you share them. If the ropes loosen (and they always seem to loosen) you end up trapped in the middle like you’re in a hammock. LOL!

    Reply
  15. Make my bed? Hahahahaha. I think the only time I make my bed up is when I’m having a party and I need it as a place for folks to toss their coats. It’s the Phillis Dille in me, why make it up today when I’m only going to mess it up again?
    I think my favorite 18th century bed is in Versaille. I wish I could find a pic of it online. It looks like a giant chair. It’s pink silk, and bolstered on three sides. A total playground of a bed.
    I’ll second Susan on the discomfort of a period bed. And they get even worse when you share them. If the ropes loosen (and they always seem to loosen) you end up trapped in the middle like you’re in a hammock. LOL!

    Reply
  16. Make my bed? Hahahahaha. I think the only time I make my bed up is when I’m having a party and I need it as a place for folks to toss their coats. It’s the Phillis Dille in me, why make it up today when I’m only going to mess it up again?
    I think my favorite 18th century bed is in Versaille. I wish I could find a pic of it online. It looks like a giant chair. It’s pink silk, and bolstered on three sides. A total playground of a bed.
    I’ll second Susan on the discomfort of a period bed. And they get even worse when you share them. If the ropes loosen (and they always seem to loosen) you end up trapped in the middle like you’re in a hammock. LOL!

    Reply
  17. Susan/Miranda,
    What a fabulous and thought-provoking post! I have always enjoyed the bedrooms of historic houses but it was great to get a peek “under the sheets.” My favorite beds are those alcove beds at Monticello, particularly this one:
    http://www.monticello.org/house/bedroom.html
    Nina, when I toured Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, the tour guide made a point of saying that the Lincolns had separate bedrooms because it was a sign of social status and being well-to-do. Susan/Miranda, what do you think?
    And BTW, I have been known to write sermons in bed (though only in longhand,not on a laptop). Of course, I have also been known to write in the bathtub (maybe Wenches could blog on bathrooms sometime, too!).
    Melinda

    Reply
  18. Susan/Miranda,
    What a fabulous and thought-provoking post! I have always enjoyed the bedrooms of historic houses but it was great to get a peek “under the sheets.” My favorite beds are those alcove beds at Monticello, particularly this one:
    http://www.monticello.org/house/bedroom.html
    Nina, when I toured Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, the tour guide made a point of saying that the Lincolns had separate bedrooms because it was a sign of social status and being well-to-do. Susan/Miranda, what do you think?
    And BTW, I have been known to write sermons in bed (though only in longhand,not on a laptop). Of course, I have also been known to write in the bathtub (maybe Wenches could blog on bathrooms sometime, too!).
    Melinda

    Reply
  19. Susan/Miranda,
    What a fabulous and thought-provoking post! I have always enjoyed the bedrooms of historic houses but it was great to get a peek “under the sheets.” My favorite beds are those alcove beds at Monticello, particularly this one:
    http://www.monticello.org/house/bedroom.html
    Nina, when I toured Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, the tour guide made a point of saying that the Lincolns had separate bedrooms because it was a sign of social status and being well-to-do. Susan/Miranda, what do you think?
    And BTW, I have been known to write sermons in bed (though only in longhand,not on a laptop). Of course, I have also been known to write in the bathtub (maybe Wenches could blog on bathrooms sometime, too!).
    Melinda

    Reply
  20. Susan/Miranda,
    What a fabulous and thought-provoking post! I have always enjoyed the bedrooms of historic houses but it was great to get a peek “under the sheets.” My favorite beds are those alcove beds at Monticello, particularly this one:
    http://www.monticello.org/house/bedroom.html
    Nina, when I toured Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, the tour guide made a point of saying that the Lincolns had separate bedrooms because it was a sign of social status and being well-to-do. Susan/Miranda, what do you think?
    And BTW, I have been known to write sermons in bed (though only in longhand,not on a laptop). Of course, I have also been known to write in the bathtub (maybe Wenches could blog on bathrooms sometime, too!).
    Melinda

    Reply
  21. Oh, I didn’t explain properly — I’m actually a half-and-half made/unmade bedperson. Yes, I park myself on it for large parts of the day, but the bed itself is made, blankets over covers, coverlet overall. But then I pull a quilt up over my legs while I work, which also kind of un-makes the bed. I do that because I have the window open year-round, being a notorious fresh-air fiend — but then that’s another blog altogether. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  22. Oh, I didn’t explain properly — I’m actually a half-and-half made/unmade bedperson. Yes, I park myself on it for large parts of the day, but the bed itself is made, blankets over covers, coverlet overall. But then I pull a quilt up over my legs while I work, which also kind of un-makes the bed. I do that because I have the window open year-round, being a notorious fresh-air fiend — but then that’s another blog altogether. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  23. Oh, I didn’t explain properly — I’m actually a half-and-half made/unmade bedperson. Yes, I park myself on it for large parts of the day, but the bed itself is made, blankets over covers, coverlet overall. But then I pull a quilt up over my legs while I work, which also kind of un-makes the bed. I do that because I have the window open year-round, being a notorious fresh-air fiend — but then that’s another blog altogether. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  24. Oh, I didn’t explain properly — I’m actually a half-and-half made/unmade bedperson. Yes, I park myself on it for large parts of the day, but the bed itself is made, blankets over covers, coverlet overall. But then I pull a quilt up over my legs while I work, which also kind of un-makes the bed. I do that because I have the window open year-round, being a notorious fresh-air fiend — but then that’s another blog altogether. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  25. Maggie — I know, I’ve read those “experts” about reserving bedrooms for sleep and sex, but I don’t buy it. And I’m afraid Barbara used her bed (and a lot of others besides) for many purposes, from receiving the bribes of French ambassadors to playing cards with friends. She knew how to multi-task.
    Loretta — I LOVE the sound of the “Great Bed of Ware”! Where did you find info about this? I know that inns and taverns believed in shared accomodations, but I’ve never heard of a huge bed built specifically for the purpose.
    Nina — I don’t really know about spouses sharing beds. In most upper-class or aristocratic household, it seems that husbands and wives do have separate bedchambers, with one visiting the other, but I don’t know enough to say for sure. Anyone else?
    (I won’t venture a word about the “wet sheets.” Eyew!)
    Kalen — No, historically correct beds are NOT comfortable. I’m glad you second my opinion.
    Sometime I would like to try the “cots” of a a English Navy captain c. 1800, though. I’ve seen those on various ships — I kind of boxed-in mattress that swings from the beams with the roll of the waves. A glorified hammock, really. Might be fun (or maybe not)

    Reply
  26. Maggie — I know, I’ve read those “experts” about reserving bedrooms for sleep and sex, but I don’t buy it. And I’m afraid Barbara used her bed (and a lot of others besides) for many purposes, from receiving the bribes of French ambassadors to playing cards with friends. She knew how to multi-task.
    Loretta — I LOVE the sound of the “Great Bed of Ware”! Where did you find info about this? I know that inns and taverns believed in shared accomodations, but I’ve never heard of a huge bed built specifically for the purpose.
    Nina — I don’t really know about spouses sharing beds. In most upper-class or aristocratic household, it seems that husbands and wives do have separate bedchambers, with one visiting the other, but I don’t know enough to say for sure. Anyone else?
    (I won’t venture a word about the “wet sheets.” Eyew!)
    Kalen — No, historically correct beds are NOT comfortable. I’m glad you second my opinion.
    Sometime I would like to try the “cots” of a a English Navy captain c. 1800, though. I’ve seen those on various ships — I kind of boxed-in mattress that swings from the beams with the roll of the waves. A glorified hammock, really. Might be fun (or maybe not)

    Reply
  27. Maggie — I know, I’ve read those “experts” about reserving bedrooms for sleep and sex, but I don’t buy it. And I’m afraid Barbara used her bed (and a lot of others besides) for many purposes, from receiving the bribes of French ambassadors to playing cards with friends. She knew how to multi-task.
    Loretta — I LOVE the sound of the “Great Bed of Ware”! Where did you find info about this? I know that inns and taverns believed in shared accomodations, but I’ve never heard of a huge bed built specifically for the purpose.
    Nina — I don’t really know about spouses sharing beds. In most upper-class or aristocratic household, it seems that husbands and wives do have separate bedchambers, with one visiting the other, but I don’t know enough to say for sure. Anyone else?
    (I won’t venture a word about the “wet sheets.” Eyew!)
    Kalen — No, historically correct beds are NOT comfortable. I’m glad you second my opinion.
    Sometime I would like to try the “cots” of a a English Navy captain c. 1800, though. I’ve seen those on various ships — I kind of boxed-in mattress that swings from the beams with the roll of the waves. A glorified hammock, really. Might be fun (or maybe not)

    Reply
  28. Maggie — I know, I’ve read those “experts” about reserving bedrooms for sleep and sex, but I don’t buy it. And I’m afraid Barbara used her bed (and a lot of others besides) for many purposes, from receiving the bribes of French ambassadors to playing cards with friends. She knew how to multi-task.
    Loretta — I LOVE the sound of the “Great Bed of Ware”! Where did you find info about this? I know that inns and taverns believed in shared accomodations, but I’ve never heard of a huge bed built specifically for the purpose.
    Nina — I don’t really know about spouses sharing beds. In most upper-class or aristocratic household, it seems that husbands and wives do have separate bedchambers, with one visiting the other, but I don’t know enough to say for sure. Anyone else?
    (I won’t venture a word about the “wet sheets.” Eyew!)
    Kalen — No, historically correct beds are NOT comfortable. I’m glad you second my opinion.
    Sometime I would like to try the “cots” of a a English Navy captain c. 1800, though. I’ve seen those on various ships — I kind of boxed-in mattress that swings from the beams with the roll of the waves. A glorified hammock, really. Might be fun (or maybe not)

    Reply
  29. My favorite bed is the wonderful construction in Osterley Park in London. I found a photo here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-osterleypark/w-osterley-gallery.htm
    Oh, dear, just checked it – you have to keep hitting next and you’ll get to the bed. The other pictures are lovely anyway!
    I LOVE my bed. It’s a wonderful place to write. I think automatically I relax and the flow of thoughts improves once I’m surrounded by pillows. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s faster and more convenient means these days, I more usually work on my computer. But the bed is still my preferred location for critting and proofreading and reading and writing letters.
    Loved the post, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.

    Reply
  30. My favorite bed is the wonderful construction in Osterley Park in London. I found a photo here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-osterleypark/w-osterley-gallery.htm
    Oh, dear, just checked it – you have to keep hitting next and you’ll get to the bed. The other pictures are lovely anyway!
    I LOVE my bed. It’s a wonderful place to write. I think automatically I relax and the flow of thoughts improves once I’m surrounded by pillows. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s faster and more convenient means these days, I more usually work on my computer. But the bed is still my preferred location for critting and proofreading and reading and writing letters.
    Loved the post, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.

    Reply
  31. My favorite bed is the wonderful construction in Osterley Park in London. I found a photo here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-osterleypark/w-osterley-gallery.htm
    Oh, dear, just checked it – you have to keep hitting next and you’ll get to the bed. The other pictures are lovely anyway!
    I LOVE my bed. It’s a wonderful place to write. I think automatically I relax and the flow of thoughts improves once I’m surrounded by pillows. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s faster and more convenient means these days, I more usually work on my computer. But the bed is still my preferred location for critting and proofreading and reading and writing letters.
    Loved the post, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.

    Reply
  32. My favorite bed is the wonderful construction in Osterley Park in London. I found a photo here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-osterleypark/w-osterley-gallery.htm
    Oh, dear, just checked it – you have to keep hitting next and you’ll get to the bed. The other pictures are lovely anyway!
    I LOVE my bed. It’s a wonderful place to write. I think automatically I relax and the flow of thoughts improves once I’m surrounded by pillows. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s faster and more convenient means these days, I more usually work on my computer. But the bed is still my preferred location for critting and proofreading and reading and writing letters.
    Loved the post, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.

    Reply
  33. Nina, I love Osterley. It’s a bit of a hidden secret. I certainly had never heard of it, although I lived in London for two years in the mid-’80s, until a friend of mine who’s a Robert Adam fanatic started talking about it one day. I made a point of visiting it last time I was in London and was just blown away. Did you see the Etruscan room photo – the one with the really delicate decoration? That is one of the most exquisite rooms I’ve ever been in. It’s like walking out into a spring garden after the opulence of the rest of the house.

    Reply
  34. Nina, I love Osterley. It’s a bit of a hidden secret. I certainly had never heard of it, although I lived in London for two years in the mid-’80s, until a friend of mine who’s a Robert Adam fanatic started talking about it one day. I made a point of visiting it last time I was in London and was just blown away. Did you see the Etruscan room photo – the one with the really delicate decoration? That is one of the most exquisite rooms I’ve ever been in. It’s like walking out into a spring garden after the opulence of the rest of the house.

    Reply
  35. Nina, I love Osterley. It’s a bit of a hidden secret. I certainly had never heard of it, although I lived in London for two years in the mid-’80s, until a friend of mine who’s a Robert Adam fanatic started talking about it one day. I made a point of visiting it last time I was in London and was just blown away. Did you see the Etruscan room photo – the one with the really delicate decoration? That is one of the most exquisite rooms I’ve ever been in. It’s like walking out into a spring garden after the opulence of the rest of the house.

    Reply
  36. Nina, I love Osterley. It’s a bit of a hidden secret. I certainly had never heard of it, although I lived in London for two years in the mid-’80s, until a friend of mine who’s a Robert Adam fanatic started talking about it one day. I made a point of visiting it last time I was in London and was just blown away. Did you see the Etruscan room photo – the one with the really delicate decoration? That is one of the most exquisite rooms I’ve ever been in. It’s like walking out into a spring garden after the opulence of the rest of the house.

    Reply
  37. Great post, Susan. I think we often don’t use bed details enough in our books. However, it’s something where we need to give people details before using them, and that can seem cumbersome.
    In my books I use the term “climb into bed” a lot, but I don’t always mention steps. Mind you, now I think about it, how familiar is that phrase to people. I grew up with it as the norm, even though few people were climbing anymore. We did have one bed that needed a stepstool. (Great for playing _under_. And for imagining monsters under. All a bit lost with most modern beds.)
    We also had some flock beds (poor substitute for feathers, stuffed with bits of wool) that had to be fluffed up every day or they were flat and hard. I liked them as a child because they made a dip that was comforting.
    I don’t have many fond memories of “spring interior” mattresses because they began to break down, creating dips in the middle, hard lumps, and even, sometimes, wire pointing through!
    These days we’re dense foam users all the way, which in some ways probably isn’t that different to a flock mattress on a hard base. Interesting, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  38. Great post, Susan. I think we often don’t use bed details enough in our books. However, it’s something where we need to give people details before using them, and that can seem cumbersome.
    In my books I use the term “climb into bed” a lot, but I don’t always mention steps. Mind you, now I think about it, how familiar is that phrase to people. I grew up with it as the norm, even though few people were climbing anymore. We did have one bed that needed a stepstool. (Great for playing _under_. And for imagining monsters under. All a bit lost with most modern beds.)
    We also had some flock beds (poor substitute for feathers, stuffed with bits of wool) that had to be fluffed up every day or they were flat and hard. I liked them as a child because they made a dip that was comforting.
    I don’t have many fond memories of “spring interior” mattresses because they began to break down, creating dips in the middle, hard lumps, and even, sometimes, wire pointing through!
    These days we’re dense foam users all the way, which in some ways probably isn’t that different to a flock mattress on a hard base. Interesting, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  39. Great post, Susan. I think we often don’t use bed details enough in our books. However, it’s something where we need to give people details before using them, and that can seem cumbersome.
    In my books I use the term “climb into bed” a lot, but I don’t always mention steps. Mind you, now I think about it, how familiar is that phrase to people. I grew up with it as the norm, even though few people were climbing anymore. We did have one bed that needed a stepstool. (Great for playing _under_. And for imagining monsters under. All a bit lost with most modern beds.)
    We also had some flock beds (poor substitute for feathers, stuffed with bits of wool) that had to be fluffed up every day or they were flat and hard. I liked them as a child because they made a dip that was comforting.
    I don’t have many fond memories of “spring interior” mattresses because they began to break down, creating dips in the middle, hard lumps, and even, sometimes, wire pointing through!
    These days we’re dense foam users all the way, which in some ways probably isn’t that different to a flock mattress on a hard base. Interesting, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  40. Great post, Susan. I think we often don’t use bed details enough in our books. However, it’s something where we need to give people details before using them, and that can seem cumbersome.
    In my books I use the term “climb into bed” a lot, but I don’t always mention steps. Mind you, now I think about it, how familiar is that phrase to people. I grew up with it as the norm, even though few people were climbing anymore. We did have one bed that needed a stepstool. (Great for playing _under_. And for imagining monsters under. All a bit lost with most modern beds.)
    We also had some flock beds (poor substitute for feathers, stuffed with bits of wool) that had to be fluffed up every day or they were flat and hard. I liked them as a child because they made a dip that was comforting.
    I don’t have many fond memories of “spring interior” mattresses because they began to break down, creating dips in the middle, hard lumps, and even, sometimes, wire pointing through!
    These days we’re dense foam users all the way, which in some ways probably isn’t that different to a flock mattress on a hard base. Interesting, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  41. GREAT links!
    RevMelinda —
    The best part about Jefferson’s bed doesn’t really show in this picture, unless you look closely — how it’s tucked into the wall between two rooms, so he could go to sleep in it by way of his bedchamber, then roll right out into his study on the other side. Very cool!
    Anna–
    This is a lovely National Trust site. They really do a splendid job with these, esp. for us poor American writers yearning to visit for “research.” And what a bed!! Rope springs or not, I’m sure I could write MUCH better there. *G*
    Thanks to you both for sharing…
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  42. GREAT links!
    RevMelinda —
    The best part about Jefferson’s bed doesn’t really show in this picture, unless you look closely — how it’s tucked into the wall between two rooms, so he could go to sleep in it by way of his bedchamber, then roll right out into his study on the other side. Very cool!
    Anna–
    This is a lovely National Trust site. They really do a splendid job with these, esp. for us poor American writers yearning to visit for “research.” And what a bed!! Rope springs or not, I’m sure I could write MUCH better there. *G*
    Thanks to you both for sharing…
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  43. GREAT links!
    RevMelinda —
    The best part about Jefferson’s bed doesn’t really show in this picture, unless you look closely — how it’s tucked into the wall between two rooms, so he could go to sleep in it by way of his bedchamber, then roll right out into his study on the other side. Very cool!
    Anna–
    This is a lovely National Trust site. They really do a splendid job with these, esp. for us poor American writers yearning to visit for “research.” And what a bed!! Rope springs or not, I’m sure I could write MUCH better there. *G*
    Thanks to you both for sharing…
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  44. GREAT links!
    RevMelinda —
    The best part about Jefferson’s bed doesn’t really show in this picture, unless you look closely — how it’s tucked into the wall between two rooms, so he could go to sleep in it by way of his bedchamber, then roll right out into his study on the other side. Very cool!
    Anna–
    This is a lovely National Trust site. They really do a splendid job with these, esp. for us poor American writers yearning to visit for “research.” And what a bed!! Rope springs or not, I’m sure I could write MUCH better there. *G*
    Thanks to you both for sharing…
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  45. Nina, the damp sheets that people were so often worrying about comes about because something so large and sturdy as a linen sheet is hard to dry in a damp and rainy climate, particularly in winter. Modern sheets are made of light, fine cloth that dries easily. Sheets in the past were made of much heavier fabric.
    Really the only way to ensure it was completely dry would be to air it thoroughly in a warm room after bringing it in from the line, and that would take up a lot of space and time — particularly if there were several sheets or more. So a lazy innkeeper or maidservant would no doubt be tempted to put them away — or on the bed — a little damp and hope they’d dry out that way.
    Sleeping between damp sheets coud give a person a chill. Hence the worry.

    Reply
  46. Nina, the damp sheets that people were so often worrying about comes about because something so large and sturdy as a linen sheet is hard to dry in a damp and rainy climate, particularly in winter. Modern sheets are made of light, fine cloth that dries easily. Sheets in the past were made of much heavier fabric.
    Really the only way to ensure it was completely dry would be to air it thoroughly in a warm room after bringing it in from the line, and that would take up a lot of space and time — particularly if there were several sheets or more. So a lazy innkeeper or maidservant would no doubt be tempted to put them away — or on the bed — a little damp and hope they’d dry out that way.
    Sleeping between damp sheets coud give a person a chill. Hence the worry.

    Reply
  47. Nina, the damp sheets that people were so often worrying about comes about because something so large and sturdy as a linen sheet is hard to dry in a damp and rainy climate, particularly in winter. Modern sheets are made of light, fine cloth that dries easily. Sheets in the past were made of much heavier fabric.
    Really the only way to ensure it was completely dry would be to air it thoroughly in a warm room after bringing it in from the line, and that would take up a lot of space and time — particularly if there were several sheets or more. So a lazy innkeeper or maidservant would no doubt be tempted to put them away — or on the bed — a little damp and hope they’d dry out that way.
    Sleeping between damp sheets coud give a person a chill. Hence the worry.

    Reply
  48. Nina, the damp sheets that people were so often worrying about comes about because something so large and sturdy as a linen sheet is hard to dry in a damp and rainy climate, particularly in winter. Modern sheets are made of light, fine cloth that dries easily. Sheets in the past were made of much heavier fabric.
    Really the only way to ensure it was completely dry would be to air it thoroughly in a warm room after bringing it in from the line, and that would take up a lot of space and time — particularly if there were several sheets or more. So a lazy innkeeper or maidservant would no doubt be tempted to put them away — or on the bed — a little damp and hope they’d dry out that way.
    Sleeping between damp sheets coud give a person a chill. Hence the worry.

    Reply
  49. Jo —
    You’re right about wanting to use all this interesting bed “info” in our writing. The trick is finding the way to incorporate the history without making it seem like a lesson. But I always cringe when writers wander off to the fantasy-land of Victoria’s Secret, and have their supposedly Georgian characters lying between silk sheets — arrgghh!
    Interesting that you recall the high beds in England. My mother spent her summers (1920s-30s) as a child at a family-run Victorian hotel in California, and she still remembers being terrified by the tall, carved mahoghany bedsteads — after having to climb up the steps, she was always afraid the headboard and canopy would collapse on her in the night. Sweet dreams indeed.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  50. Jo —
    You’re right about wanting to use all this interesting bed “info” in our writing. The trick is finding the way to incorporate the history without making it seem like a lesson. But I always cringe when writers wander off to the fantasy-land of Victoria’s Secret, and have their supposedly Georgian characters lying between silk sheets — arrgghh!
    Interesting that you recall the high beds in England. My mother spent her summers (1920s-30s) as a child at a family-run Victorian hotel in California, and she still remembers being terrified by the tall, carved mahoghany bedsteads — after having to climb up the steps, she was always afraid the headboard and canopy would collapse on her in the night. Sweet dreams indeed.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  51. Jo —
    You’re right about wanting to use all this interesting bed “info” in our writing. The trick is finding the way to incorporate the history without making it seem like a lesson. But I always cringe when writers wander off to the fantasy-land of Victoria’s Secret, and have their supposedly Georgian characters lying between silk sheets — arrgghh!
    Interesting that you recall the high beds in England. My mother spent her summers (1920s-30s) as a child at a family-run Victorian hotel in California, and she still remembers being terrified by the tall, carved mahoghany bedsteads — after having to climb up the steps, she was always afraid the headboard and canopy would collapse on her in the night. Sweet dreams indeed.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  52. Jo —
    You’re right about wanting to use all this interesting bed “info” in our writing. The trick is finding the way to incorporate the history without making it seem like a lesson. But I always cringe when writers wander off to the fantasy-land of Victoria’s Secret, and have their supposedly Georgian characters lying between silk sheets — arrgghh!
    Interesting that you recall the high beds in England. My mother spent her summers (1920s-30s) as a child at a family-run Victorian hotel in California, and she still remembers being terrified by the tall, carved mahoghany bedsteads — after having to climb up the steps, she was always afraid the headboard and canopy would collapse on her in the night. Sweet dreams indeed.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  53. Love this article on beds, Susan. Many thanks for the information about the three mattresses. For some reason, I had imagined just a single fat feathered one on the ropes, not three.
    It is difficult to imagine them sleeping half-sitting. When we visited Versailles and saw those bolsters, we thought it certainly would be a neck-aching experience to have your head at a weird angle.
    Jo, we have a single dense mattress on a platform, too. I can’t stand the sagging box springs.

    Reply
  54. Love this article on beds, Susan. Many thanks for the information about the three mattresses. For some reason, I had imagined just a single fat feathered one on the ropes, not three.
    It is difficult to imagine them sleeping half-sitting. When we visited Versailles and saw those bolsters, we thought it certainly would be a neck-aching experience to have your head at a weird angle.
    Jo, we have a single dense mattress on a platform, too. I can’t stand the sagging box springs.

    Reply
  55. Love this article on beds, Susan. Many thanks for the information about the three mattresses. For some reason, I had imagined just a single fat feathered one on the ropes, not three.
    It is difficult to imagine them sleeping half-sitting. When we visited Versailles and saw those bolsters, we thought it certainly would be a neck-aching experience to have your head at a weird angle.
    Jo, we have a single dense mattress on a platform, too. I can’t stand the sagging box springs.

    Reply
  56. Love this article on beds, Susan. Many thanks for the information about the three mattresses. For some reason, I had imagined just a single fat feathered one on the ropes, not three.
    It is difficult to imagine them sleeping half-sitting. When we visited Versailles and saw those bolsters, we thought it certainly would be a neck-aching experience to have your head at a weird angle.
    Jo, we have a single dense mattress on a platform, too. I can’t stand the sagging box springs.

    Reply
  57. On sleeping half-sitting: quite a few of our hospice patients, particularly the ones with lung cancer or breathing issues, sleep in their recliners because it makes breathing so much easier/more comfortable for them. (And, of course, hospital beds can have the heads raised for the same purpose.)

    Reply
  58. On sleeping half-sitting: quite a few of our hospice patients, particularly the ones with lung cancer or breathing issues, sleep in their recliners because it makes breathing so much easier/more comfortable for them. (And, of course, hospital beds can have the heads raised for the same purpose.)

    Reply
  59. On sleeping half-sitting: quite a few of our hospice patients, particularly the ones with lung cancer or breathing issues, sleep in their recliners because it makes breathing so much easier/more comfortable for them. (And, of course, hospital beds can have the heads raised for the same purpose.)

    Reply
  60. On sleeping half-sitting: quite a few of our hospice patients, particularly the ones with lung cancer or breathing issues, sleep in their recliners because it makes breathing so much easier/more comfortable for them. (And, of course, hospital beds can have the heads raised for the same purpose.)

    Reply
  61. Anne–
    You make an excellent point about the damp sheets. Many of the old housekeeping guides are quite strict about the care of beds and linens.
    Susanna Whatman’s book (1780) cautions that the feather-beds should always be shaken and aired against dampness, as well as shifting the feathers to even the wear. One of the responsibilities of the housemaid was to stay up until the master and mistress went to bed, so as to warm their beds for them while they undressed. (The only night she was excused from this was Monday, because she was expected to rise at 3:30 the next morning to help with the week’s laundry!)
    Mrs. Whatman also suggests having a paper template made to fit across the top of the tester, to protect it from dust — a good idea. To modern eyes, all that drapery looks like dust-catching allergies waiting to happen.
    Mrs. Parkes (1825) offers sterner warnings: “A great evil attendant on new feathers is a disagreeable smell, owing to the feathers not having been sufficiently stoved to destroy the animal juices.”
    Makes those foam beds sound better and better!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  62. Anne–
    You make an excellent point about the damp sheets. Many of the old housekeeping guides are quite strict about the care of beds and linens.
    Susanna Whatman’s book (1780) cautions that the feather-beds should always be shaken and aired against dampness, as well as shifting the feathers to even the wear. One of the responsibilities of the housemaid was to stay up until the master and mistress went to bed, so as to warm their beds for them while they undressed. (The only night she was excused from this was Monday, because she was expected to rise at 3:30 the next morning to help with the week’s laundry!)
    Mrs. Whatman also suggests having a paper template made to fit across the top of the tester, to protect it from dust — a good idea. To modern eyes, all that drapery looks like dust-catching allergies waiting to happen.
    Mrs. Parkes (1825) offers sterner warnings: “A great evil attendant on new feathers is a disagreeable smell, owing to the feathers not having been sufficiently stoved to destroy the animal juices.”
    Makes those foam beds sound better and better!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  63. Anne–
    You make an excellent point about the damp sheets. Many of the old housekeeping guides are quite strict about the care of beds and linens.
    Susanna Whatman’s book (1780) cautions that the feather-beds should always be shaken and aired against dampness, as well as shifting the feathers to even the wear. One of the responsibilities of the housemaid was to stay up until the master and mistress went to bed, so as to warm their beds for them while they undressed. (The only night she was excused from this was Monday, because she was expected to rise at 3:30 the next morning to help with the week’s laundry!)
    Mrs. Whatman also suggests having a paper template made to fit across the top of the tester, to protect it from dust — a good idea. To modern eyes, all that drapery looks like dust-catching allergies waiting to happen.
    Mrs. Parkes (1825) offers sterner warnings: “A great evil attendant on new feathers is a disagreeable smell, owing to the feathers not having been sufficiently stoved to destroy the animal juices.”
    Makes those foam beds sound better and better!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  64. Anne–
    You make an excellent point about the damp sheets. Many of the old housekeeping guides are quite strict about the care of beds and linens.
    Susanna Whatman’s book (1780) cautions that the feather-beds should always be shaken and aired against dampness, as well as shifting the feathers to even the wear. One of the responsibilities of the housemaid was to stay up until the master and mistress went to bed, so as to warm their beds for them while they undressed. (The only night she was excused from this was Monday, because she was expected to rise at 3:30 the next morning to help with the week’s laundry!)
    Mrs. Whatman also suggests having a paper template made to fit across the top of the tester, to protect it from dust — a good idea. To modern eyes, all that drapery looks like dust-catching allergies waiting to happen.
    Mrs. Parkes (1825) offers sterner warnings: “A great evil attendant on new feathers is a disagreeable smell, owing to the feathers not having been sufficiently stoved to destroy the animal juices.”
    Makes those foam beds sound better and better!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  65. From Sherrie:
    Until a few years ago I never walked up to my bed and simply climbed in. I would leap onto the bed from a slight distance, in case there was anything under the bed ready to grab my ankles. How does one justify being a mature woman and doing such a silly thing?
    Like many of you, I write in bed. And read. And watch movies on my little portable DVD player. I don’t eat in bed because the tiniest crumb will drive me insane. I must be related to the princes of The Princess and the Pea.
    I don’t make my bed unless I have company. Instead, I pull the covers all the way to the foot of the bed, exposing the top and bottom sheets. I think the airing is healthier. I started doing this when I got grossed out after reading an article about all the skin flakes we shed in bed, and how there are microscopic cooties that feed on them. So now I flap the sheets to send cooties and flakes flying, then let light and air do the rest.
    And I have a million pillows. Love all my pillows.

    Reply
  66. From Sherrie:
    Until a few years ago I never walked up to my bed and simply climbed in. I would leap onto the bed from a slight distance, in case there was anything under the bed ready to grab my ankles. How does one justify being a mature woman and doing such a silly thing?
    Like many of you, I write in bed. And read. And watch movies on my little portable DVD player. I don’t eat in bed because the tiniest crumb will drive me insane. I must be related to the princes of The Princess and the Pea.
    I don’t make my bed unless I have company. Instead, I pull the covers all the way to the foot of the bed, exposing the top and bottom sheets. I think the airing is healthier. I started doing this when I got grossed out after reading an article about all the skin flakes we shed in bed, and how there are microscopic cooties that feed on them. So now I flap the sheets to send cooties and flakes flying, then let light and air do the rest.
    And I have a million pillows. Love all my pillows.

    Reply
  67. From Sherrie:
    Until a few years ago I never walked up to my bed and simply climbed in. I would leap onto the bed from a slight distance, in case there was anything under the bed ready to grab my ankles. How does one justify being a mature woman and doing such a silly thing?
    Like many of you, I write in bed. And read. And watch movies on my little portable DVD player. I don’t eat in bed because the tiniest crumb will drive me insane. I must be related to the princes of The Princess and the Pea.
    I don’t make my bed unless I have company. Instead, I pull the covers all the way to the foot of the bed, exposing the top and bottom sheets. I think the airing is healthier. I started doing this when I got grossed out after reading an article about all the skin flakes we shed in bed, and how there are microscopic cooties that feed on them. So now I flap the sheets to send cooties and flakes flying, then let light and air do the rest.
    And I have a million pillows. Love all my pillows.

    Reply
  68. From Sherrie:
    Until a few years ago I never walked up to my bed and simply climbed in. I would leap onto the bed from a slight distance, in case there was anything under the bed ready to grab my ankles. How does one justify being a mature woman and doing such a silly thing?
    Like many of you, I write in bed. And read. And watch movies on my little portable DVD player. I don’t eat in bed because the tiniest crumb will drive me insane. I must be related to the princes of The Princess and the Pea.
    I don’t make my bed unless I have company. Instead, I pull the covers all the way to the foot of the bed, exposing the top and bottom sheets. I think the airing is healthier. I started doing this when I got grossed out after reading an article about all the skin flakes we shed in bed, and how there are microscopic cooties that feed on them. So now I flap the sheets to send cooties and flakes flying, then let light and air do the rest.
    And I have a million pillows. Love all my pillows.

    Reply
  69. Ooooo, that’s the State Bedroom at Osterley Park. It’s beautiful (and just as fancy inside under that canopy!). If you’re there on a slow day (like I was) the docents are quite friendly and will really let you look at stuff (I was “the girl who knows stuff” after the library where two octogenarians and I got into a long discussion about book binding, LOL!).

    Reply
  70. Ooooo, that’s the State Bedroom at Osterley Park. It’s beautiful (and just as fancy inside under that canopy!). If you’re there on a slow day (like I was) the docents are quite friendly and will really let you look at stuff (I was “the girl who knows stuff” after the library where two octogenarians and I got into a long discussion about book binding, LOL!).

    Reply
  71. Ooooo, that’s the State Bedroom at Osterley Park. It’s beautiful (and just as fancy inside under that canopy!). If you’re there on a slow day (like I was) the docents are quite friendly and will really let you look at stuff (I was “the girl who knows stuff” after the library where two octogenarians and I got into a long discussion about book binding, LOL!).

    Reply
  72. Ooooo, that’s the State Bedroom at Osterley Park. It’s beautiful (and just as fancy inside under that canopy!). If you’re there on a slow day (like I was) the docents are quite friendly and will really let you look at stuff (I was “the girl who knows stuff” after the library where two octogenarians and I got into a long discussion about book binding, LOL!).

    Reply
  73. Wow, I’m sorry I didn’t get over here in time to join in this conversation! What great research! And a great memory to remember it all. And a great back for sitting on a bed all day typing it in! I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read. So I have a lovely stuffed and foam couch with tons of pillows and bright lights that I use for all the movie watching, book reading, longhand writing, etc. But I don’t munch between meals, so no crumbs.
    Window open in winter? Ewwwwww! Did you hear that loudly enough? EWWWWWWWWWW. Shiver.
    Pat, heading back for the covers

    Reply
  74. Wow, I’m sorry I didn’t get over here in time to join in this conversation! What great research! And a great memory to remember it all. And a great back for sitting on a bed all day typing it in! I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read. So I have a lovely stuffed and foam couch with tons of pillows and bright lights that I use for all the movie watching, book reading, longhand writing, etc. But I don’t munch between meals, so no crumbs.
    Window open in winter? Ewwwwww! Did you hear that loudly enough? EWWWWWWWWWW. Shiver.
    Pat, heading back for the covers

    Reply
  75. Wow, I’m sorry I didn’t get over here in time to join in this conversation! What great research! And a great memory to remember it all. And a great back for sitting on a bed all day typing it in! I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read. So I have a lovely stuffed and foam couch with tons of pillows and bright lights that I use for all the movie watching, book reading, longhand writing, etc. But I don’t munch between meals, so no crumbs.
    Window open in winter? Ewwwwww! Did you hear that loudly enough? EWWWWWWWWWW. Shiver.
    Pat, heading back for the covers

    Reply
  76. Wow, I’m sorry I didn’t get over here in time to join in this conversation! What great research! And a great memory to remember it all. And a great back for sitting on a bed all day typing it in! I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read. So I have a lovely stuffed and foam couch with tons of pillows and bright lights that I use for all the movie watching, book reading, longhand writing, etc. But I don’t munch between meals, so no crumbs.
    Window open in winter? Ewwwwww! Did you hear that loudly enough? EWWWWWWWWWW. Shiver.
    Pat, heading back for the covers

    Reply
  77. RevMelinda: Thanks for a different take on “sleeping half-sitting.”
    This has been a great discussion. And Pat, I second the ewww shiver!

    Reply
  78. RevMelinda: Thanks for a different take on “sleeping half-sitting.”
    This has been a great discussion. And Pat, I second the ewww shiver!

    Reply
  79. RevMelinda: Thanks for a different take on “sleeping half-sitting.”
    This has been a great discussion. And Pat, I second the ewww shiver!

    Reply
  80. RevMelinda: Thanks for a different take on “sleeping half-sitting.”
    This has been a great discussion. And Pat, I second the ewww shiver!

    Reply
  81. Kalen — Yes, being the “girl who knows things” gets you into all sorts of places (and I mean that in a good way!) Once you show a genuine interest in just about anything, people often fall over themselves to share that interest. How else does one get to try out those historic beds? *g*
    RevMelinda–It is an excellent point about the half-sitting beds in hospitals. Always interesting how much old wisdom has to be “relearned.”
    Pat & Keira — It’s true, it’s true, I DO have the windows open when I write. Not a huge gale blowing through, but definitely on the fresh side. What can I say? I’m just one of those people who’s always warm. When everyone else retires to Miami, I want to go to Maine.
    Briskly,
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  82. Kalen — Yes, being the “girl who knows things” gets you into all sorts of places (and I mean that in a good way!) Once you show a genuine interest in just about anything, people often fall over themselves to share that interest. How else does one get to try out those historic beds? *g*
    RevMelinda–It is an excellent point about the half-sitting beds in hospitals. Always interesting how much old wisdom has to be “relearned.”
    Pat & Keira — It’s true, it’s true, I DO have the windows open when I write. Not a huge gale blowing through, but definitely on the fresh side. What can I say? I’m just one of those people who’s always warm. When everyone else retires to Miami, I want to go to Maine.
    Briskly,
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  83. Kalen — Yes, being the “girl who knows things” gets you into all sorts of places (and I mean that in a good way!) Once you show a genuine interest in just about anything, people often fall over themselves to share that interest. How else does one get to try out those historic beds? *g*
    RevMelinda–It is an excellent point about the half-sitting beds in hospitals. Always interesting how much old wisdom has to be “relearned.”
    Pat & Keira — It’s true, it’s true, I DO have the windows open when I write. Not a huge gale blowing through, but definitely on the fresh side. What can I say? I’m just one of those people who’s always warm. When everyone else retires to Miami, I want to go to Maine.
    Briskly,
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  84. Kalen — Yes, being the “girl who knows things” gets you into all sorts of places (and I mean that in a good way!) Once you show a genuine interest in just about anything, people often fall over themselves to share that interest. How else does one get to try out those historic beds? *g*
    RevMelinda–It is an excellent point about the half-sitting beds in hospitals. Always interesting how much old wisdom has to be “relearned.”
    Pat & Keira — It’s true, it’s true, I DO have the windows open when I write. Not a huge gale blowing through, but definitely on the fresh side. What can I say? I’m just one of those people who’s always warm. When everyone else retires to Miami, I want to go to Maine.
    Briskly,
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  85. From Sherrie:
    Pat said: “I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read.”
    ROFLOL! Pat, because I read in bed, and do much of my editing and critiquing, plus judging manuscripts in bed, I need decent light, so I have a good light source for that.
    I have a really nifty set-up for my bed. I removed the double doors from a closet and painted the interior, including ceiling, with a light colored, high-gloss paint for good reflectiveness. Then I shoved the head of the bed into the closet, artistically draped the closet opening in yards and yards of lace fabric (swagged across the top and falling to the floor on both sides in artful folds), and installed narrow (5″ wide) shelving on the left and right sides of the bed (no room for night stands).
    Then I added a clip-on light to one of the higher shelves, and voila! I now have a cozy nest, with plenty of light that I can adjust at any angle. I have tons of pillows on my bed, and prop them up behind me and under my knees. I have a variety of portable lap desks to fit my needs. This gives my poor back a rest from constant sitting on a chair at my desk. The only trouble is I sometimes wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning with a book on my face.

    Reply
  86. From Sherrie:
    Pat said: “I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read.”
    ROFLOL! Pat, because I read in bed, and do much of my editing and critiquing, plus judging manuscripts in bed, I need decent light, so I have a good light source for that.
    I have a really nifty set-up for my bed. I removed the double doors from a closet and painted the interior, including ceiling, with a light colored, high-gloss paint for good reflectiveness. Then I shoved the head of the bed into the closet, artistically draped the closet opening in yards and yards of lace fabric (swagged across the top and falling to the floor on both sides in artful folds), and installed narrow (5″ wide) shelving on the left and right sides of the bed (no room for night stands).
    Then I added a clip-on light to one of the higher shelves, and voila! I now have a cozy nest, with plenty of light that I can adjust at any angle. I have tons of pillows on my bed, and prop them up behind me and under my knees. I have a variety of portable lap desks to fit my needs. This gives my poor back a rest from constant sitting on a chair at my desk. The only trouble is I sometimes wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning with a book on my face.

    Reply
  87. From Sherrie:
    Pat said: “I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read.”
    ROFLOL! Pat, because I read in bed, and do much of my editing and critiquing, plus judging manuscripts in bed, I need decent light, so I have a good light source for that.
    I have a really nifty set-up for my bed. I removed the double doors from a closet and painted the interior, including ceiling, with a light colored, high-gloss paint for good reflectiveness. Then I shoved the head of the bed into the closet, artistically draped the closet opening in yards and yards of lace fabric (swagged across the top and falling to the floor on both sides in artful folds), and installed narrow (5″ wide) shelving on the left and right sides of the bed (no room for night stands).
    Then I added a clip-on light to one of the higher shelves, and voila! I now have a cozy nest, with plenty of light that I can adjust at any angle. I have tons of pillows on my bed, and prop them up behind me and under my knees. I have a variety of portable lap desks to fit my needs. This gives my poor back a rest from constant sitting on a chair at my desk. The only trouble is I sometimes wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning with a book on my face.

    Reply
  88. From Sherrie:
    Pat said: “I have a lovely Sleep Comfort bed I’d probably carry out with me in case of fire, but I need more light than a bed lamp to read.”
    ROFLOL! Pat, because I read in bed, and do much of my editing and critiquing, plus judging manuscripts in bed, I need decent light, so I have a good light source for that.
    I have a really nifty set-up for my bed. I removed the double doors from a closet and painted the interior, including ceiling, with a light colored, high-gloss paint for good reflectiveness. Then I shoved the head of the bed into the closet, artistically draped the closet opening in yards and yards of lace fabric (swagged across the top and falling to the floor on both sides in artful folds), and installed narrow (5″ wide) shelving on the left and right sides of the bed (no room for night stands).
    Then I added a clip-on light to one of the higher shelves, and voila! I now have a cozy nest, with plenty of light that I can adjust at any angle. I have tons of pillows on my bed, and prop them up behind me and under my knees. I have a variety of portable lap desks to fit my needs. This gives my poor back a rest from constant sitting on a chair at my desk. The only trouble is I sometimes wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning with a book on my face.

    Reply
  89. Sherrie, that sounds like bed-heaven — at least writer-in-bed-heaven.
    And I laughed at the part about the book on your face. I have an old pair of glasses that are reserved for reading in bed, so that if I fall asleep and roll over on my face, it won’t matter if the frames get bent. Or more specifically, bent further.

    Reply
  90. Sherrie, that sounds like bed-heaven — at least writer-in-bed-heaven.
    And I laughed at the part about the book on your face. I have an old pair of glasses that are reserved for reading in bed, so that if I fall asleep and roll over on my face, it won’t matter if the frames get bent. Or more specifically, bent further.

    Reply
  91. Sherrie, that sounds like bed-heaven — at least writer-in-bed-heaven.
    And I laughed at the part about the book on your face. I have an old pair of glasses that are reserved for reading in bed, so that if I fall asleep and roll over on my face, it won’t matter if the frames get bent. Or more specifically, bent further.

    Reply
  92. Sherrie, that sounds like bed-heaven — at least writer-in-bed-heaven.
    And I laughed at the part about the book on your face. I have an old pair of glasses that are reserved for reading in bed, so that if I fall asleep and roll over on my face, it won’t matter if the frames get bent. Or more specifically, bent further.

    Reply
  93. Sherrie–
    I was thinking about your bed-in-the-closet, and remembered one more 18th century bed to toss in to the discussion. It’s not as elegant as the English examples or TJ’s at Montecello — it’s in a 17th century farmhouse on Cape Cod. The guides explain it as an early version of a Murphy bed, a space-saving invention by some long-forgotten Yankee. It’s a low bedstead (like a modern twin with head and footboards, but no tester) that folds down from a cupboard in the wall. When it’s not in use, it folded away, with a big iron hook to hold it upright.
    Not that this has anything really in common with your arrangement (this was pretty primitive, compared to your heights-of-luxury), but it is one more odd bed-fact to share. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  94. Sherrie–
    I was thinking about your bed-in-the-closet, and remembered one more 18th century bed to toss in to the discussion. It’s not as elegant as the English examples or TJ’s at Montecello — it’s in a 17th century farmhouse on Cape Cod. The guides explain it as an early version of a Murphy bed, a space-saving invention by some long-forgotten Yankee. It’s a low bedstead (like a modern twin with head and footboards, but no tester) that folds down from a cupboard in the wall. When it’s not in use, it folded away, with a big iron hook to hold it upright.
    Not that this has anything really in common with your arrangement (this was pretty primitive, compared to your heights-of-luxury), but it is one more odd bed-fact to share. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  95. Sherrie–
    I was thinking about your bed-in-the-closet, and remembered one more 18th century bed to toss in to the discussion. It’s not as elegant as the English examples or TJ’s at Montecello — it’s in a 17th century farmhouse on Cape Cod. The guides explain it as an early version of a Murphy bed, a space-saving invention by some long-forgotten Yankee. It’s a low bedstead (like a modern twin with head and footboards, but no tester) that folds down from a cupboard in the wall. When it’s not in use, it folded away, with a big iron hook to hold it upright.
    Not that this has anything really in common with your arrangement (this was pretty primitive, compared to your heights-of-luxury), but it is one more odd bed-fact to share. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  96. Sherrie–
    I was thinking about your bed-in-the-closet, and remembered one more 18th century bed to toss in to the discussion. It’s not as elegant as the English examples or TJ’s at Montecello — it’s in a 17th century farmhouse on Cape Cod. The guides explain it as an early version of a Murphy bed, a space-saving invention by some long-forgotten Yankee. It’s a low bedstead (like a modern twin with head and footboards, but no tester) that folds down from a cupboard in the wall. When it’s not in use, it folded away, with a big iron hook to hold it upright.
    Not that this has anything really in common with your arrangement (this was pretty primitive, compared to your heights-of-luxury), but it is one more odd bed-fact to share. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  97. Susan/Miranda, I didn’t know Murphy beds went back that far! My very first apartment didn’t have a bedroom–just a Murphy bed set into an elegant wood paneled wall in the living room. After raising the bed up, you could then swivel the whole thing 180 degrees so that the bed faced into a hall closet, and the “back” of the bed (which was covered in identical wood paneling) faced the living room. Once you swiveled the bed, you had a solid wall of paneling without a hint that a bed was concealed on the other side. The bonus was that you never had to make your bed!

    Reply
  98. Susan/Miranda, I didn’t know Murphy beds went back that far! My very first apartment didn’t have a bedroom–just a Murphy bed set into an elegant wood paneled wall in the living room. After raising the bed up, you could then swivel the whole thing 180 degrees so that the bed faced into a hall closet, and the “back” of the bed (which was covered in identical wood paneling) faced the living room. Once you swiveled the bed, you had a solid wall of paneling without a hint that a bed was concealed on the other side. The bonus was that you never had to make your bed!

    Reply
  99. Susan/Miranda, I didn’t know Murphy beds went back that far! My very first apartment didn’t have a bedroom–just a Murphy bed set into an elegant wood paneled wall in the living room. After raising the bed up, you could then swivel the whole thing 180 degrees so that the bed faced into a hall closet, and the “back” of the bed (which was covered in identical wood paneling) faced the living room. Once you swiveled the bed, you had a solid wall of paneling without a hint that a bed was concealed on the other side. The bonus was that you never had to make your bed!

    Reply
  100. Susan/Miranda, I didn’t know Murphy beds went back that far! My very first apartment didn’t have a bedroom–just a Murphy bed set into an elegant wood paneled wall in the living room. After raising the bed up, you could then swivel the whole thing 180 degrees so that the bed faced into a hall closet, and the “back” of the bed (which was covered in identical wood paneling) faced the living room. Once you swiveled the bed, you had a solid wall of paneling without a hint that a bed was concealed on the other side. The bonus was that you never had to make your bed!

    Reply
  101. Sherrie, you are a vertible WEALTH of weird bed lore! This bed you’re describing sounds like a one-of-a-kind arrangement, but then you never know….
    I wonder who the original Murphy was?

    Reply
  102. Sherrie, you are a vertible WEALTH of weird bed lore! This bed you’re describing sounds like a one-of-a-kind arrangement, but then you never know….
    I wonder who the original Murphy was?

    Reply
  103. Sherrie, you are a vertible WEALTH of weird bed lore! This bed you’re describing sounds like a one-of-a-kind arrangement, but then you never know….
    I wonder who the original Murphy was?

    Reply
  104. Sherrie, you are a vertible WEALTH of weird bed lore! This bed you’re describing sounds like a one-of-a-kind arrangement, but then you never know….
    I wonder who the original Murphy was?

    Reply

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