Calke Abbey – The Chinese Bed

State bed info, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

The State Bed at Calke Abbey was only discovered in the early 1980s, it was packed away in wooden chests which is just as well as otherwise the Chinese silk would not have been in the pristine condition that we see today.

It’s really difficult to get a good photo of the bed as it’s shut away behind glass within the bedroom, to keep it as safe as possible from damage.
Chinese silk state bed hangings, Calke Abbey

The photos don’t do it justice at all, as it’s absolutely sumptuous in reality.

Chinese silk  hangings, Calke Abbey

There’s a display case in the same room which has some smaller panels of silk in it so you can get a closer look.

Chinese silk, Calke Abbey

It’s thought that the bed hangings were probably a gift from royalty in 1734 when Lady Caroline Manners married Sir Henry Harpur. But they were never used possibly because the rooms in the family’s apartments didn’t have high enough ceilings.

Chinese silk, Calke Abbey

When the National Trust took over Calke Abbey in 1984 they discovered the silk hangings in the chests in the photo below, they are in a room just behind the bedroom. Can you imagine what it must have been like opening up these very ordinary looking chest or kists as we call them in Scotland, and finding all that silk?!

Chinese silk store chest

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