Virtual guided tour
Canopy bed © Collectiebeleid Musea stad Antwerpen
Until well into the seventeenth century, it was not unusual for beds to be placed in the main room of the house, as close as possible to the warmth of the fireplace.
A free-standing bed in a separate room was a luxury reserved for the wealthy few. Bed curtains, which hung from the canopy or in front of the opening of a box bed, were commonplace and served to protect sleepers from the cold. Because the bed was draped with curtains, it tended to dominate the interior, bringing a dash of colour into the room and influencing other decorative choices. The bed is strikingly small by modern standards; at that time people slept in a half-seated position. This was felt to promote good digestion and circulation.
Southern Netherlands, seventeenth century