CONSTRUCTION & UNITY OF FRAME
With the exception of eighteenth-century replacement side rails and a replacement headboard, the frame can be confirmed as intact, and not a marriage of different parts.
Holes in the rear of the front corners of the canopy show an unusual fastening method. Once located over the drapes on the subframe, a two-pronged dog is placed in these holes to keep the carvings secured.
The carved and pierced canopy and poplar subframe retain their original hand-forged prongs and brackets. Some of the screws have been replaced.
There would have originally been six hooks to locate three rods. One hand-forged iron hook remains on the underside of the canopy to hold the missing curtain rods.
It is clear from their placement that curtains were intended at the foot posts, but did not obscure any of the carvings.
Corresponding bruising/impressions on the underside of the canopy sub-frame show the head and foot posts to be original. The unity of the head and foot posts is further confirmed by the remains of the original castors. Chuck marks from the lathe are clearly evident on the top of the posts showing the height to be correct.
Both foot posts retain part of their original cast iron castors. The castors of the head posts have been removed but the impression shows them to have been the same, therefore confirming the unity of all four posts.
Chuck marks from the lathe are clearly evident on the top of the posts, showing the height to be correct.
The unity of the head and foot posts is further confirmed by the remains of the original castors. Both foot posts retain part of their original cast iron castors.
The castors of the head posts have been removed but the impressions show them to have been the same, therefore confirming the unity of all four posts.
Hammer marks are evident on top of both posts from the assembly and gluing of the post sections. The construction of the fire screens in sections, as demonstrated by the X-rays in the Winterthur Cadwalader Study,4is a technique also employed on the bed posts.
Shakes and splits in the mahogany show that the posts are assembled from three sections: The first join is between the square section and the base of the vase, and the second join is between the spiral carving and the base of the long stopped flute.
The mortice and tenon joints are identified by corresponding Roman numerals made by a ½” chisel, which further shows the unity of the original components.
The acanthus carved detachable knees (bolt covers) are similarly marked II & III on their reverse. Detachable knees are reserved for the very best beds and detailed in The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book as "knees to move”.
There is a further mark made with a carving gouge in the form of a ‘C’ on one of the posts and the front cross-rail. The two side rails are eighteenth century replacements.
The original headboard is missing; the construction suggests this was a simple board hidden by the drapes; this would have been stuffed and covered with fabric as detailed by Plunket Fleeson.5