| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!

View
 

Beds

Page history last edited by L.G.E.Campion@warwick.ac.uk 9 years, 11 months ago

                                                                                       Beds. 

 

 

Introduction.

 

 

The bed, whether luxuriously comfortable or merely a mattress stuffed with straw, is an object that has existed throughout much of human history. One might, therefore, be inclined to regard it as mundane, an item that one must own in order to sleep and repose. The many other associations of the bed, however, from sex and childbirth to illness and death, are of great use in examining the nature of the domestic scene in eighteenth century literature and culture. Perhaps the most significant observation, yielded from greater examination of the bed’s role in various situations, is that the bed and bedchamber are by no means private spaces. Indeed, Sparkes remarks that, “it would appear that bedchambers were not the private- almost intimate rooms they had become by the late 19th century, and in general have remained into the 20th century” (38). One elementary reason for this, of course, can be found in the fact that beds and bedrooms were very often shared, as one sees in such texts as Pamela and Fanny Hill. James Boswell, too, records in his journal an incidence of sharing a bed with a friend:

 

“But I was still so haunted with frightfull imaginations, that I durst not lie by myself, but rose and sallied straight to Erskine, who realy had compassion on me, and as before shared his bed with me” (213).

 

The fact that people of various social classes thought little of sharing beds with one another is merely one reason that one might see fit to challenge the idea that the bed is a private space. The beds inhabited by 18th century society are, rather, performative spaces, objects that can be used by their owners, and those who wrote about them, in the examination of sexuality, illness, and death. Furthermore, one might say that the bed itself serves as a kind of canvas, onto which those with the necessary means could project their good taste, and therefore demonstrate their wealth. The examination of beds in 18th century literature is indicative of their roles as tools in the performance of sexuality, femininity and monetary prestige, therefore suggesting that the understanding of the bed as a private space is a thoroughly modern notion. 

 

 

(1)                                                                                                                                                                             (2)

Image (1): This very elaborate bed would have been found in the home of the Earl of Melville, in Fife, and dates from around 1700. The red velvet curtains and seemingly Oriental-inspired adornments are indicative of a desire to display one's wealth and knowledge of global culture.    

Image (2): This rather more humble bed, dating from between 1725-1750, hails from Boston, Massachusetts. Although much less extravagant than its velvet-curtained counterpart, the pretty embroidery on the curtains suggests that the outward appearance of the bed would have been important to its owner.                                                                                                                                                                   

1. Beds and Sexual Experience.

 

If one is to pursue a reading of the bed as a performative space, it is impossible to ignore the way in which sexual encounters are depicted by eighteenth century authors. Far from being a deeply private, spontaneous act, the sexual encounter is often highly orchestrated, with the bed deftly manipulated by its occupants in order to communicate, for example, dominance or inexperience.

 

In John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Fanny’s understanding of the associations of the bed are seen to change significantly, between her arrival in London and her first sexual encounter with Phoebe. Early in the text, Fanny seeks a place to sleep for the night, and is delighted when the mistress of a lodging house offers her a bed: “ the assurance of nothing more than a bed to lie on that night, calmed my agonies” (14). Clearly, Fanny regards the bed as a source of comfort and respite, a safe space in which to repose. By the time she has arrived at Mrs. Brown’s house, however, and is about to get into bed with Phoebe for the first time, the nature of the bed is already beginning to change. Phoebe notes that Fanny has “a kind of modest reluctance… to strip” (24), an observation indicative of Fanny’s understanding of the bed as a private space. If the bed is to be shared, Fanny appears to believe that remaining in her shift might maintain a certain sense of privacy, as her body would remain concealed. When Phoebe begins to touch her, Fanny instinctively considers jumping out of the bed (28), but Phoebe’s “…lascivious touches had lighted up a new fire that wanton’d through all my veins” (28). It is perhaps this “new fire” that represents not only Fanny’s sexual awakening, but also a realisation that the bed is not exclusively a space for sleep and private comfort.

 

Fanny’s sexual encounter with Phoebe is also indicative of the role of the bed as an instrument in the performance of sexuality. Hellman notes that, “the social power of furniture lay in its visually and spatially complex forms and its combination of specialized and flexible functions. Objects simultaneously scripted action and invited manipulation” (422). The manipulation of the bed is plainly evident in Cleland’s novel, as Phoebe makes use of its space in order to afford herself maximum access to Fanny’s body. As Phoebe explores her body, Fanny notes that she is “… stretch’d naked, my shift being turned up to my neck, whilst I had no power or sense to oppose it” (30). The bed becomes, here, a canvas upon which to display the body. In this scene, the bedding is cast aside, and the bed is no longer a space for sleep. Furthermore, the positioning of Fanny’s body on the bed, and her suggestion that she is powerless to prevent Phoebe from doing what she will, casts her in the role of passive, inexperienced young woman, with Phoebe the dominant partner. Once the sex act is over, it is Phoebe who “[replaces] the bed-cloaths over us” (31), further underscoring the extent to which she is in control of the shifting associations of the bed, from site of sexual exploration to space for sleep.  

It is interesting to compare Fanny’s first sexual experience with a later encounter, in which a cousin of Mrs. Brown attempts to have sex with her while she sits on a settee. While the sexual intimacy that takes place in bed is defined by the bed’s capacity to both display and conceal the body, the settee offers a rather different setting for sexual experience. It is an object upon which the body can be brutally exposed, as Fanny notes when Mrs. Brown’s cousin repeatedly “attempts to extend and fix [her] on the settee” (47). While Fanny’s sex with Phoebe is hallmarked by tentative exploration between the bedcovers, the exposure of the settee is indicative of a rather less tender encounter. As Hellman remarks, “the sofa is sumptuous and convenient, perpetually available to receive the body and to display it to advantage” (416). It is perhaps this connection between the sofa and perpetual availability that renders the encounter between Fanny and the young man so brutal. Unlike the bed, the settee offers no place for concealment, trapping Fanny in the passive, exposed position. 

 

In Samuel Richardson’s epistolary novel Pamela, the eponymous heroine is also compelled to reconsider her understanding of the associations of the bed. In one of her letters, Pamela is in deep despair over Mr. B’s relentless pursuit of her. She has resolved to return home, and asks her parents that her “little bed be got ready” (37). Clearly, the bed of Pamela’s childhood home carries connotations of comfort and safety, and the fact that the bed is “little” is indicative of Pamela’s innocence and vulnerability. At Mr. B’s house, however, the significance of the bed is entirely different, as it becomes the site at which Mr. B attempts to assert his control over Pamela. Determined to have sex with Pamela, Mr. B, one evening, rushes towards Pamela, having been hiding in her closet, and she responds by attempting to conceal herself in her bed (74). In hiding in the closet, Mr. B violates Pamela’s privacy, as the eighteenth-century closet was perhaps the most personal room of the house. As Sharp writes, “the ‘closet’ or ‘cabinet’ was a small room intended primarily for study, reflection and prayer” (12). Pamela’s attempt to hide away in bed, still fully dressed, might be read as an attempt to regain one’s private space, and suggests that she still regards the bed as a space of personal comfort. Mr. B, however, pursues her to her hiding place, and the bed becomes a site of instability, in which the occupant is not safe from the advances of others. 

 

Just as Mr. B’s attempts to have sex with Pamela are carefully planned and executed, the eponymous protagonist of Daniel Defoe’s Roxana is similarly adept in the art of orchestrating sexual encounters. Having developed a very close relationship with her maid, Amy, Roxana compels her to have sex with her husband, undressing her and laying her in bed alongside her waiting spouse (52). Once in the bed, Amy, having initially been reluctant to do as her mistress asks, simply “lay still and let him do what he would with her” (52). Roxana, although not physically involved with the sexual encounter, has perhaps the greatest power here. Her placing of Amy in the bed renders her little more than an object, through which Roxana and her husband are able to assert their control. Wall suggests that it is Roxana, throughout the novel, who “orders the [domestic] space” (355), and the bed offers Roxana an opportunity to assign passive and dominant roles to both herself, and those who share her domestic sphere. 

 

 

2. The Bed and Powerlessness in Charlotte Temple.

Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple, first published in 1791, tells the story of a young English woman who is seduced and taken to America by a man named Montraville, who later abandons a desolate, pregnant Charlotte. Charlotte is unwell and poorly treated throughout much of the novel, and the reader frequently experiences her as a somewhat tragic figure, confined to her bed. The bed in Charlotte Temple, therefore, becomes a space through which Rowson explores Charlotte’s lack of agency, as it is between the bed clothes that she experiences much of her distress. As Garden states, “the continual invocation of the bed as the theatre of Charlotte’s drama establishes it as a locus of not only sensation and emotion but also social relations” (42). It is during the passage to America that Charlotte’s dependence on her bed is first highlighted, as she is said to be “naturally delicate, the fatigue and sickness which she endured rendered her so weak as to be almost entirely confined to her bed” (94). It is interesting that Charlotte’s first prolonged instance of being confined to bed coincides with her departure from her home. As she leaves the place with which she is familiar, she becomes unwell, her weakened body indicative of her diminished power over her own life. 

 

During her journey to America, Charlotte is reliant on a bed in order to support her sickly, delicate body. In the scene in which Charlotte is discovered asleep in bed by the long-absent Montraville, with his friend Belcour lying next to her (140), the bed is indicative of her powerlessness in a rather different way. Montraville’s assumption that Charlotte might have had sex with a man other than him sexualises the bed, rendering Charlotte a victim of her former lover’s wrongful assertions. While the bed occupied by Charlotte during her voyage provided a necessary space in which to rest, the bed in this instance incriminates her, the connection between the bed and sexual activity prompting Montraville to depart from the house, leaving the pregnant, devastated Charlotte behind (141). 

 

Later in the novel, when Belcour tells Charlotte that Montraville has married another woman, she is so stricken by the news that she faints, and is “conveyed to her bed, from whence she earnestly prayed that she might never more arise” (166). This news of Montraville further diminishes Charlotte’s agency, as she is once again confined to bed, a space that she herself identifies as one in which she might die. Rowson writes that Charlotte’s fainting confines her “…to a bed of sickness, she was no longer an object of desire” (167). Not only has Montraville’s betrayal of his pregnant former lover rendered her insensible, it has also altered her physical appearance, therefore compromising another component of her identity. Charlotte’s self-defined death bed, therefore, signals the death of aspects of her self. 

 

As Charlotte becomes increasingly unwell, shortly after giving birth to her daughter, the bed that she occupies reflects her sorry, desolate state, as it is described as “a wretched bed, without hangings, and but poorly supplied with covering” (193). Charlotte’s condition is here identified with the state of the bed, and it is as though her “emaciated figure” (193) has become one with the space in which she lies. As both her physical and cerebral power continues to deteriorate, Charlotte is absorbed into the bed in which she lies, identified only with illness and abjection.  She does attempt, at one point, to leave the bed, but is “prevented” by the woman who has taken her in, Mrs. Beauchamp (195). It would appear that the cumulative effect of both illness and injustice have rendered Charlotte powerless to move beyond the bed in which she will eventually die, as it defines her experience so completely. 

 

 

 

 

This title page, of the 1797 American edition of Rowson's novel, offers readers some clue as to the 

tragedy of Charlotte's situation, by invoking Romeo and Juliet. 

 

 

3. Beds and a Challenge to Social Mores. 

 

(3)

The Punished Son, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1778. 

 

The above painting appears to entirely justify a reading of the bed, and bedroom, as a performative space. The scene depicted is remarkably melodramatic, with the elderly man's son arriving to a scene of familial devastation, too late to say goodbye to his dying father. French artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze is commonly associated with sentimental, dramatic scenes, and is often regarded "as the herald of a new morality, the champion of virtue against the debilitating decadence of court and aristocracy" (Fort, 146). Greuze's concern for the decline in society's morals is here realised in the image of the selfish son, and the connotations of the bed do much to amplify the tragedy of the situation. The bed, here, is the focal point of the painting, and emphasises the frailty of the elderly man. The fact that some of the man's family have gathered to watch over him in his final hours, while his son has remained elsewhere, underscores the extent to which the bedroom could be, in a less unfeeling society, a site of familial love and devotion. Instead, the observer's eye is drawn to the death-bed, rendering the room a somewhat tragic space. The image of the dying man in bed, therefore, serves as a canvas onto which Greuze can sketch out his concerns of decaying societal morality. 

 

(4)

La Piété Filiale, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1763. 

 

It is interesting to compare Greuze's The Punished Son with the painting above, as here, a visibly frail, unwell man lies not in a bed, but propped in a chair. The difference with this image, however, is that the man depicted here is surrounded by his entire family, all of whom are eagerly attending to him in his distress. The bed of the painting discussed previously heightens the emotion and drama of the scene, as its connotations underscore the plight of the old man and the selfishness of his son. One might suggest that Greuze's intention differs between paintings. In The Punished Son, Greuze criticises an unfeeling society, in which morality has become so debased that a child can fail to say goodbye to a dying parent. Here, however, Greuze presents an idealised image of an attentive, loving family, a product of the society that he believes ought to exist. In the previous image, the bed's associations of death and decay might be said to be indicative of the dying moral fabric of society, whereas here, the family is behaving as Greuze believes is right, and a different image is therefore needed. 

                        
In At Day's Close- A History of Nighttime, Ekirch remarks that, "at night, indigent men and women grew bold. Darkness freed untold numbers from the control of their betters" (231). Ekirch here implies that nighttime brought a freedom that was inaccessible during daylight hours, and the bed plays a significant part in this. In Gabriel Lawrence's 1726 trial for sodomy, one witness describes his visits to a brothel run by Margaret Clap, which "bore the publick character of a place of entertainment for sodomites, and for the better conveniency of her customers, she had provided beds in every room in her house". The fact that Clap's house was effectively made into one vast bedroom might suggest a reading of the bed not only as a performative space, but also a transformative one. The positioning of beds everywhere in the house, therefore enabling sexual activity that would have been regarded as unacceptable by much of society, transforms the space of the house into a kind of extra-societal environment, in which daylight morality is cast aside altogether. Ekirch also notes that gender roles were regarded very differently within the space of the bed, as he remarks, "sexual boundaries were redrawn. Lying abed in the dark encouraged wives to express their concerns unsuited to other hours" (282). Such bold understandings of the bed as an environment in which gender and moral constraints were mooted might be said to politicise it. Far from being a private environment, the bed becomes a space for a kind of political resistance, in which the darkness of night obscures societal convention. 

 

 

4. Beds and Prestige.

The bed offers its occupants a space within which to perform one’s wealth, prestige and social status, from the way it is used to its degree of comfort and luxury. The classified ad pictured below, taken from a newspaper of January 1700, explicitly mentions that the bed for sale is a “rich, crimson, velvet” one, simultaneously highlighting its comfort and beautiful appearance.   

 

 

 

James Boswell, in his London Journal, makes great use of the bed as a means of communicating his gentlemanly status. (See page on Wigs for further discussion of demonstrating the identity of a gentleman.) When Boswell’s landlord asks him to vacate some of the rooms he has been renting, he is particularly pleased with one aspect of the arrangement: the arrival of a new bed, which is described as, “… a handsom tent bed with green and white check curtains” (136). Clearly, the bed’s attractive appearance is a key source of its appeal to Boswell, rendering it more than a mere item of furniture, but also a tool through which to demonstrate his wealth. 

 

The bed, in Boswell’s journal, plays a great role in the performance of his leisure activity, as the image of a relaxed, unconcerned Boswell reposing in bed underscores the fact that he is not a man required to work in order to lead a lifestyle of privilege. In one description of his morning routine, Boswell sketches an image of a very relaxed, carefree figure, as he states,

 

“at eight in the morning Molly lights the fire, sweeps and dresses my dining room. Then she calls me up and lets me know what o clock it is. I lie sometime in bed indulging indolence; which in that way when the mind is easy and chearfull is most pleasing” (134).

 

This image, in which Boswell happily admits to lying lazily in bed while his staff are busy with work, emphasizes his status as a rich gentleman. Boswell is free to ask his maid what time it is, and subsequently continue his repose. The fact that Boswell is able to lie in bed as late as he wishes demonstrates that the hours on the clock do not organise his day, his financial ease reflected in the time spent in the comfort of his bed. 

 

In a similar display of wealth, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in her Turkish Embassy Letters, describes taking her own bed with her as she travelled around Europe (30), a decision that emphasises her attachment to her own, comfortable bed. There was, according to Sparkes, a practical reason for choosing to make one’s own bed a part of the luggage when embarking on a trip, “… as the beds in inns at home and abroad were not always clean” (42). Montagu’s transport of her own bed from country to country represents a demonstration of the fact that she could afford to avoid such unwholesome establishments, again highlighting the extent to which financial prestige can be denoted by the comfort and luxury of one’s bed. 

 

 

5. Throwing the Stocking.

 

One unusual eighteenth century custom involving the bed truly demonstrates the extent to which the bed and bedroom can be understood as performative spaces. Shortly after a couple’s wedding reception, the guests would follow the bride and groom back to their bedroom, and the newlyweds would lie in bed while female guests threw stockings over their shoulders at the bride, and male guests at the groom. Whoever was successful in hitting the couple with their stockings would be the ones to get married next (Maurer). 

 

This custom is alluded to in several eighteenth century texts, one of which being A Trip to Litchfield, a humorous reimagining of the epic genre. During one part of the trip, the traveller encounters a wedding party, and following descriptions of dancing and partying, mentions "throwing the stocking" as one of the final entertainments of the day (7). Here, the custom appears to be a somewhat voyeuristic one, as it comes just before a line that reads, "bell hung under bed, to know when it was rocking" (7). Throwing the stocking, therefore, seems to be a means of admittance into what might be regarded as the most private area of the couple's lives as newlyweds, part of a broader scheme of the wedding guests' desire to access the bride and groom's space at the most intimate of moments. 

 

 


An image of the page on which throwing the stocking is mentioned. 

 

Throwing the stocking also appears in Colley Cibber's comedic play, The Double Gallant. In this instance, throwing the stocking appears to be just one aspect of a series of distasteful conventions of the wedding day, with one character suggesting that the occasion is "... so like the mob solemnities of a May-Day... and the poor bride is us'd just like their pole, for all the town to dance around her" (93). Such a view of the practices employed in the name of celebrating marriage is one which implies a distinct over-interest in what is, purportedly, an intimate declaration of love between bride and groom. The wedding party here appears to be a kind of public event, with throwing the stocking described as "... yet a grosser part of the ceremony" (93). Clearly, wider interest in the newlywed couple goes beyond the "dancing and tumult" of the earlier celebrations (93), and culminates in a trip to their bedroom. In both texts, the practice appears to be a kind of intrusion, and suggests that the bed of the newly married couple perhaps does not represent the intimate space that one might expect. 

 

 


 

 

Annotated Bibliography. 

 

Eighteenth Century Sources. 

 

Author of the Trip to Nottingham. A Trip to Litchfield, With a Character of the French Officers ThereLondon, 1705. ECCO. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

A short, humorous poem that parodies the epic form, complete with invocation to the muse at the beginning of the text. The somewhat crude depiction of throwing the stocking is indicative of the extent to which society's gaze intruded into the bedroom at the most intimate of moments. 

 

Boswell, James. London Journal, 1762-1763. London: Penguin, 2010. Print. 

 

Boswell's journal details the many adventures of his life in London, from his numerous sexual encounters to a desire to find favour among high society. This text was of great use for examining the way in which the bed can be read as an object through which gentlemanly status is lived and symbolised. 

 

Cibber, Colley. The Double Gallant, Or The Sick Lady's Cure. London: Henry Lintot, 1749. ECCO. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.  

 

Cibber's comedy, performed for the first time in 1707, includes a scene in which a character expresses discomfort at the throwing the stocking custom. This might be said to represent an embryonic notion of the understanding of the bed as a private space, into which wider society ought not to intrude. 

 

"Classified Ads". The Postman and His Historical Account(London, England), Jan. 20, 1700- Jan. 23, 1700. Issue 705. British Newspapers, 1600-1950. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

An advertisement for a the sale of a selection of furniture, including a detailed description of the decoration and comfort of the bed. Such detail clearly suggests that the luxury of the bed would have been an important detail for prospective buyers. 

 

Cleland, John. Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Vol. 1. London: G. Fenton, 1749. ECCO. Web5 Mar. 2014. 

 

Cleland's sexually explicit novel, which relays the adventures and encounters of Fanny Hill, is of particular interest for its early depiction of Fanny's encounter with Phoebe. The bed, in this scene, becomes a site of exploration, and its dual purpose as a place of concealment and exposure is explored. 

 

Defoe, Daniel. Roxana, Or The Fortunate MistressVol. 1. London: H. Slater, F. Noble, J. Rowlands, T. Wright, J. Duncan, 1742. ECCOWeb. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

Defoe's final novel, Roxana details the downfall of its eponymous heroine. The scene in which Roxana orchestrates sex between one of her husbands and her maid, Amy, is indicative of the extent to which what takes place in the bed is informed by powers beyond attraction and desire. 

 

Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley. The Turkish Embassy LettersLondon: Virago, 2012. Print. 

 

A series of letters, written by Montagu as she travelled around Europe with her husband and children. Her decision to make her own bed part of the luggage emphasises her wealth, as she would not be compelled to stay in unclean inns. 

 

Old Bailey Proceedings OnlineApril 1726, Trial of Gabriel Lawrence, ref. t17260420-64. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

Gabriel Lawrence's trial, on charges of sodomy, details visits to Margaret Clap's 'molly-house', which had been converted into a brothel through the placing of beds in every room of the house. Such a transformation is indicative of the symbolic power of the bed, as a sexualised, but not necessarily private, space. 

 

Richardson, Samuel. Pamela, Or Virtue Rewarded. Vol. 1. London: C. Rivington, 1741. ECCO. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.  

 

Richardson's epistolary novel details Pamela's struggle to retain her virtue in the face of persistent resistance. The early scenes of Mr. B's determination to sleep with her alter her perceptions of the meaning of the bed, as it transforms from a space of personal comfort to one in which the occupant is under permanent threat. 

 

 Rowson, Susanna. Charlotte Temple: A Tale of Truth. Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1797. ECCO. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.  

 

Rowson's novel, in which Charlotte is seduced and taken to America by a callous man, makes great use of the bed as a means through which to communicate Charlotte's lack of agency. Charlotte's dependency on the bed can be read as a comment on female powerlessness as a consequence of cruel male behaviour.  

 

Secondary Sources.

 

Ekirch, A. Roger. At Day's Close: A History of NighttimeLondon: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2005. Print.

 

A detailed, wide-ranging history of the hours of darkness, with the conventions and symbolism of the bed discussed throughout. Of particular use was a section in which Ekirch suggested that the bed destabilised set notions of gender and sexuality. 

 

Fort, Bernadette. "Accessories of Desire: On Indecency in a Few Paintings by Jean-Baptiste Greuze". Yale French StudiesNo.94, Libertinage and Modernity. (1998). p.146-162. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

Here, Fort moots the suggestion that all of Greuze's oeuvre pertains to moral instruction. She does, however, acknowledge Greuze's reputation and concern for the imagery of societal morality, which was apparently particularly admired by Denis Diderot. 

 

Garden, Rebecca. "Confined to Bed: Illness, Narrative and Female Authority in Charlotte Temple". Literature and MedicineVol.31. No.1. (Spring 2013). p.40-62. Web.  5 Mar. 2014.

 

Garden here analyses the way in which Charlotte's bed is tied to the significant events of her life, from sickness, to sexuality, to childbirth. She also suggests that the bed might be read as a female narrative space, but this seems to jar with the way in which Charlotte's connection to her bed is always related to her adversity, and therefore inability to narrate her own life. 

 

Hellman, Mimi. "Furniture, Sociability and the Work of Leisure in Eighteenth-Century France". Eighteenth Century StudiesVol.32. No.4. (Summer 1999). p.415-445. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

Hellman begins by analysing a particular French 'It'-Narrative, that of a sofa. She goes on to discuss the ways in which furniture can mediate social relations, which is of particular use in the analysis of the bed as a space that is by no means private. 

 

Maurer, Elizabeth. "Courtship and Marriage in the Eighteenth Century". history.org. n.p, n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.

 

Maurer discusses many eighteenth century marriage conventions, including a very helpful description of what would have taken place during the throwing of the stocking. 

 

Sharp, Katherine. "Women's Creativity and Display in the Eighteenth-Century British Domestic Interior". Interior Design and IdentityEds. Susie McKellar and Penny Sparke. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. Print. 

 

A discussion of the way in which women would make use of their creativity in order to personally decorate their homes. Of great use is the section describing the purpose of the closet, which appears to have been far more private than the bedroom. 

 

Sparkes, Ivan. English Domestic Furniture, 1100-1837. Bourne End, Buckinghamshire: Spurbooks, 1980. Print. 

 

An extensive history of furniture, detailing change from the Middle Ages to the mid nineteenth century. The chapter about beds is very helpful for understanding how beds were designed, how they changed, and what the fashions of bed decoration were, during the eighteenth century. 

 

Wall, Cynthia. "Gendering Rooms: Domestic Architecture and Literary Acts". Eighteenth Century Fiction, Vol.5. No.4. (July 1993). p.349-372. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.  

 

Wall examines texts such as Roxana and Clarissa, and discusses the way in which women respond to the spaces that they inhabit. Wall's suggestion that Roxana controls the spaces that she occupies is very useful in understanding the scene in which Roxana is empowered to orchestrate sex between her husband and maid. 

 

 

 List of Images. 

 

1. State Bed from Melville House, Fife. Photograph. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Artstor. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

2. Bed Curtain. Photograph. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Artstor. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

3. Greuze, Jean-Baptiste. The Punished Son. 1778. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Artstor. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

4. Greuze, Jean-Baptiste. La Piété Filiale. 1763. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. Artstor. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. 

 

 

Links to Relevant Websites. 

 

www.artstor.org 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/jean-baptiste-greuze

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.