Beds have popped up in various places in the world of art
From Single Beds to Double Beds to giant sized California King size Beds, where we sleep has formed an important part of our lives. Throughout history, beds have evolved from the humble bedding in a box structure through to incorporating different mattresses for all kinds of sleeping habits and even health problems. This article takes a look at some of the weird and wonderful beds throughout history, literature and even art. In the words of famous diarist Samuel Pepys, “and so to bed…”
Probably one of the most famous and notable double beds in modern popular culture is the one which resided in Suite 1742 of the Fairmont Hotel in Montreal on the 26th May, 1969. Here, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged one of their two “bed ins” as peaceful anti-war protests, the first having taken place in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel between the 25th and the 31st of March. In commemoration of the event, 2010 saw the city of Montreal unveil a piece of artwork to remember Lennon and Ono’s protest, which featured the phrase “give peace a chance” in forty languages.
Beds have popped up in various places in the world of art, the most notable being Tracey Emin’s My Bed. Created in 1999, the unmade bed strewn with condoms, underwear and cigarette ends caused something of a media sensation, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. As far as single bedsare concerned, the Van Gogh 1889 painting The Bedroom at Arlesfeatured a large, yellow bed painted in Vincent’s inimitable style, all wonky edges and golden ochre tones.
Literature has its own share of famous beds, too. One of the most famous king size beds features in Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the hero’s four grandparents notably shared a bed, to which they were confined, but which Grandpa Joe finally leaves in the first book to accompany Charlie to the Wonka’s factory, followed by Grandpa George, Grandma Josephine and Grandma Georgina in the 1972 sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Various authors in literary history have been noted for their tendency to write most of their work in bed, including American author Mark Twain, who was quoted as having said of writing, “Just try it in bed sometime.I sit up with a pipe in my mouth and a board on my knees, and I scribble away. Thinking is easy work, and there isn’t much labour in moving your fingers sufficiently to get the words down.”
Whereas we mere mortals have to sleep on single beds, double beds or king size beds, celluloid sleepers often go for something a little different. The wall bed or “Murphy bed” has been a mainstay of cinema for years, featuring in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and You Only Live Twice (1967), where Bond is trapped in a wall bed and apparently machine-gunned to death. Other Bond action saw the famous rotating bed in 1966’s Casino Royale, which was later parodied in the Austin Powers films as being the ultimate accessory to an (Albeit rather cheesy) bachelor pad. Yeah baby, yeah!