LIT a BATEAU
Single Beds are sometimes put with the long side along the wall, and with high ends on both short sides, they resemble a boat and hence the name of this type of curtain arrangement. Before 1800 they can be seen in informal rooms and nurseries, with the curtains closed during the day, but in the Empire period they became the preferred style, with elaborate hangings from gilded arrows, spears or even eagles.
Today only children tend to sleep in single beds, and this type of bed can still be extremely pretty and great fun for a child.
A Corona pelmet is very similar to that of a Lit a Bateau, except that the bed points with its head to the wall. It really crowns the bed and can be very slender, tapering to a point, or almost as wide as the bed itself. The front is usually curved and this together with the graceful arch of the curtains coming down on either side makes it a highly attractive option. I have found remarkably few historical examples (as opposed to the Lit a Bateau, which was very popular in the 19th century), but it is widely used today, as it makes a grand statement without overpowering a room.
HALF TESTER BEDS
Somewhere between a Corona and the Fourposter comes the so-called half tester; also called flying tester, because of the lack of supporting posts. They developed in early eighteenth century grand European bedrooms when the curtains and posts at the foot end of the bed disappeared, perhaps as a result of improved levels of privacy and heating. Once the end posts had gone, the whole tester gradually got shorter. Some of the most expensive beds ever made were of this type, like Marie Antoinette's beds at Versailles and Fontainebleau, although it never quite replaced the fourposter, particularly in England.
Today the half tester is still a very popular model. It leaves the bottom end of the bed clear, while giving a substantial and grand appearance to the room.
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LIT a la POLONAISE
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