The bedpost form with tall vase-capped pedestals relates to that of a bed designed in 1799 for Eglinton Castle by Gillows of London and Lancaster (L. Boynton (ed.), Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, fig. 107). The Roman-medallion grisaille decoration on the head-board depicts a scene from Apuleius's History of Cupid and Psyche, while the cornice depicts the sporting youths of antiquity celebrating the Feast of Venus, and relate to those featured on the tablet rails of a set of chairs at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire that are also attributed to Gillows (The National Trust, Dyrham Park, London, 1995, p. 18).
The opulent painted decoration of this bed typifies the characteristically Edwardian taste of the American-born Irish hostess and beauty Evelyn St George. Famous as the subject of some of Sir William Orpen's most atmospheric portraits, Mrs St George's own bedroom was dominated by her painted four-poster bed, closely related in style to this one. Her bed, with a decorated footboard, looms large in the background of Orpen's 1908 portrait of her Interior at Clonsilla which was sold Sotheby's London, 16 May 2002, lot 79. Her daughter wrote of that room that 'Here...stood the great four-poster bed with its garlands and medallions painted by Angelica Kauffman' (Vivien St George, A Mirror for Mama, London, 1965). When Mrs St George moved to London in 1912 her own bed was too large for her bedroom and Orpen obligingly painted her another.