Henry VII's bed among England's most valuable furniture


2015-06-26 13:39:23


Henry VII's bed among England's most valuable furniture

Bought for just $3,500, King Henry VII's bed is now worth $33.3m

A bed created for the marriage of King Henry VII and his wife, Elizabeth of York, is thought to be one of England's most valuable pieces of furniture.

Henry VII bed tudorThe bed was paraded round the north of Englandafter Henry VIII was born

The bed was bought at auction for just 2,250 ($3,500), and will now go on display at Auckland Castle in the UK as the only piece of furniture from the Tudor court to have survived.

A report in the Sunday Times indicates the bed is now valued at 20m ($33.3m).

Ian Coulson, a restorer of four-poster beds, bought the bed after it was abandoned in a hotel car park. Described as Victorian, Coulson initially believed it was the work of revivalists, but soon noticed the carvings were more in line with those of Henry VII's era.

Contacting Jonathan Foyle, chief executive of World Monuments Fund Britain, the pair have been tracking the bed's history since 2010. It can be traced back to 1495, when Henry VII took the bed on a tour of northern England following the birth of his son, the future Henry VIII.

One of Britain's most iconic monarchs was likely conceived between the bed's sheets.

During the tour, the king is said to have visited Lathom, Lancashire. Here he saw the Stanley family, who had helped him secure victory in the Battle of Bosworth against Richard III.

The battle marked the finale of the War of the Roses, a war that had raged for years between the houses of Lancaster and York.

"This bed belonged to Henry VII. It has to be the most important piece of furniture - and arguably, royal artefact," commented Jonathan Foyle.

"Even the Westminster coronation chair has less to say than this."

Carvings on the bed show Henry VII and his wife depicted as Adam and Eve, evidence of the belief that the Tudorshad been appointed by God to save England from civil war.

'It's arguably the cradle of the English Reformation," added Foyle.

"Look how the king and queen represent themselves as manifestations of Christ and Mary; it's Henry VIII's God complex in a nutshell."

An inscription added in 1547, the year of Henry VIII's death and the first of a Protestant monarch in England, reads: "The stinge of death is sinne. The strength of sinne is the lawe".

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