One would be the iron beds from the mid to late 1800’s that were referred to as “art panel” beds. These beds specifically had flat metal panels on them with beautiful stencils, decals, and in some rare instances actual hand paintings. Over close to a 200 year period, the majority of these “art panel” beds had been painted over multiple times to freshen up what the owners felt needed to be painted. Occasionally I come across a “art panel” bed that someone has taken care of an appreciated the original art work on the panels. One of a hand full really great looking “art panel” beds that I’ve had the good fortune to have had, and sold, was one we’d come across back in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania area. When is comes to metal beds, this one was as well taken care of as any, not just “art panel” beds, I’ve had……….but beds in general. It came out of a very prestigious home in a very upper crust neighborhood. It’s one of the few iron beds I’ve ever had that I can say unequivocally never spent a day outside the house. I posted a close-up photo of the art work on this “art panel” bed. If this bed looks vaguely familiar it’s because you might have seen it in the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It was in one of the early opening sequences in a hotel room in a southern country, like Bolivia.
The second most thought of form of art on a metal bed are the castings. Castings are the decorative cast iron that was poured into a mold that was fitted around the points at which iron rods and tubing are joined together. I’ve had some castings that were incredibly detailed with peoples faces, birds, even Indian heads. But the most popular motif when it comes to castings are floral designs and flower’s. The quality of an iron foundry and the beds they produced was always indicative of their castings and the amount of detailed castings they had on their beds. It was a real art form to not only design the shape and detail of the castings, but then to have a craftsman pour those molds with hot iron ore. No small feat.
When shopping for an bed. Remember…… a bed with great castings is usually always going to be a good piece.
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