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Hathaway Bed


An oak tester bedstead, English, but of various dates and sources; the tester about 1650; the headboard about 1580-1630; the posts about 1580-1630; the rails late sixteenth or early seventeenth century; displayed with associated rush mat. An oak tester bedstead; the tester with eleven panels (nine carved with cabled diamonds and two with nulling, in moulded framework); the headboard with a rough plank across the top, above a further plank carved with a reversed lunettes, separated by a dentil moulding from a pair of geometric parquetry panels, centred by a carved caryatid and flanked by carved atalantes, the projecting earpieces carved to represent figures playing the the shawm, with four roughly-shaped extensions, above long guilloche-carved and turned balusters, supported on carved and turned cup and cover turnings, raised on rectangular moulded collars above square posts carved on three sides with stiff foliage; the rails moulded and pierced for ropes and with bedstave holes on the upper sides; the tester fitted with iron rails for curtains.

The earpieces contemporary with headboard, but associated; made up from various apparently unrelated elements; the tester headboard and posts do not seem to relate to each other; upper and lower portions of the posts are possibly not related; the head and the footposts have each been heightened on their top ends, to compensate for a commensurate reduction to their bases; the present posts were originally separate from the bedstock, but are now incorporated with the side rails; there is evidence in the form of a tenon for a linking piece between the plinths of the posts and the feet of the original bedstock.

  • Object number

    STRST : SBT 1993-31/648

  • Date


  • Material

    wood oak

  • Measurements

  • Length

    2 metres

  • Width

    1.56 metres

  • Height

    2.11 metres

  • Location

    Anne Hathaway's Cottage - Bedchamber 2

  • Credit line

    CC-BY-NC-ND Image Courtesy of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust