450-year-old bed and chest for old bones to sell at Bonhams
An imposing 450 year-old castle bed and a chest made to house human bones are amongst the lots in an upcoming Bonhams sale of furniture in London.
The 15th century bed is believed to originate from Sizergh Castle in Cumbria, which spent eight centuries as the historic home of the Strickland Family before being donated to the National trust in 1950.
The Strickland family were relatives of Henry VIII's sixth wife Catherine Parr, who stayed with them in the 1530s, but it was during the reign of Henry's daughter Elizabeth I that the castle was expanded into the stately home that survives today.
Sir Walter Strickland and his wife Alice oversaw the expansion, including the installation of the Inlaid Chamber – a room featuring remarkable wood panelling which today remains one of the world's most important examples of the art.
The team of skilled craftsmen also produced oak furniture for the castle, and experts believe the bed offered at Bonhams, dated 1570, was one such piece.
Having matched decorative features to other pieces of furniture in the house from the same period, the huge and historic four-poster bed is now expected to sell for up to £150,000 ($197,950).
The sale also features another rare and important 16th century piece in the form of a painted walnut and pine boarded chest.
Created by Italian artisans between 1510 and 1540, the chest takes the form of an ancient sarcophagus, and experts believe it was made to house religious relics or even human bones.
Bearing hand-painted motifs usually found in churches and chapels of the same period, the chest comes with an estimate of up to £250,000 ($329,900).
"These are wonderful and very different examples of craftsmanship from the first and second halves of the 16th century when economic expansion in Europe was reflected in a growing market for high quality objects," said Bonhams senior furniture specialist, David Houlston.
The Bonhams Oak Interior sale takes place in London on September 28.