An oak and inlaid tester bedstead, English, parts late 16th century
the tester with foliate and lunette-carved cornice above a trailing floral marquetry frieze with corner corbels and a central deep panel with gadrooned border and lion mask boss, flanked by rosette guilloche panels and with two rows of three deeper panels centred with carved lion mask bosses and with cable borders, raised on bulbous foliate, rosette and strap-work columns with Ionic type capitals and square section plinths, the headboard with two marquetry panels between scrolling corbels and with a pair of trompe l'oeil architectural marquetry panels incorporating birds and swans and within a gadrooned arcade supported by grotesques and flanked by Elizabethan full-length figures, with three plain panels below, with label to the reverse of the headboard From WHITE ALLOM & CO. and in script Delivered by Cameron Smith & Marriott, 12th July 1930, and a smaller label inscribed Schedule 16.7.30 no.11, together with a modern box spring -- 71½in. (181cm.) wide, 93in. (234cm.) long, 95in. (241cm.) high
Chilham Castle, Kent.
Formerly in the collection of William Randolph Hearst.
Supplied to William Randolph Hearst for St. Donat's Castle, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan, South Wales in 1930 by White, Allom & Co., and then
sold at Christie's Sale of Important English Furniture, Objects of Art and Tapestries, The Property of William Randolph Hearst, Esq., on May 18th 1939, Lot 130.
William Randolph Hearst, the multi-millionaire businessman and newspaper magnate spent vast amounts of money on art and antiques in the 1920's and 1930's and is particularly well remembered for his creation, along with his aid and confidante the architect Miss Julia Morgan, of San Simeon in California.
In 1925 Hearst bought St. Donat's Castle in South Wales for (45,000. It was not until three years later in 1928 that he visited the Castle with Sir Charles Allom the architect-antiquarian-decorator, who had recently re-decorated Buckingham Palace for George V, when discussions were begun to transform the Castle in typical Hearst fashion. Allom, of White Allom & Co., Hanover Square, London, worked on the project for the next two years spending about (300,000 with the installation of an enormous banquet hall, Elizabethan and Jacobean panelling, a swimming pool and bathrooms by the dozen. Large amounts of art and antiques originally destined for San Simeon were shipped to the United Kingdom for St Donat's (it was said that a large part of the World's tonnage was used in shipping Hearst's purchases back and forth across the seas). The bed offered here, which bears the label of White, Allom & Co. was supplied for St. Donat's during the summer of 1930 by Sir Charles. Over the next decade many celebrities were to spend the summer months with Hearst at St. Donat's.
In 1937 the Hearst Corporation was on the brink of insolvency
stic measures were taken by a separately formed executive
committee. Some of his thirty-seven newspapers were closed or sold off and part of his large art collection dispersed. St. Donat's was put on the market in 1938 and Christie's was called in to begin to sort out the contents for sale. This resulted in the auction on May 18th 1939 although the dispersal of the contents continued over the next few years.
This bed was sold at the sale for (96/12s to the owner of Chilham Castle, Somerset de Chair and has remained there for the last fifty-eight years.
St. Donat's Castle finally found a new buyer in 1960, nine years after Hearst's death.
Roy Denning (Editor) The Story of St. Donat's Castle and Atlantic College, Cowbridge, 1983.
W.A. Swanberg Citizen Hearst, New York, 1961.