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Alcove Bed

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A bed intended to be placed lengthwise within a curtained bed alcove and retaining its original wood and iron casters, used to remove the bed from the alcove for housekeeping. Part of a set of bedroom furniture (including Kneeling Chair 53.2092, Bergere 36.640, Firescreen 27.533, 2 Armchairs...

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1787, delivered to Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville d'Avray, intendant-general of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Paris [see note 1]; 1792, seized by the French government [see note 2]. 1794-1796, probably acquired in Paris by James Swan, Boston, MA [see note 3]; after 1796, with his wife Hepzibah Clark Swan (d. 1825), Dorchester, MA; 1825, after her death, by inheritance to their daughter, Mrs. John C. Howard; by inheritance to her granddaughter, Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol; 1921, gift of Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol. (Accession date: June 2, 1921) NOTES: [1] see label found on the bed and Howard Rice, "Notes on the Swan Furniture," MFA Bulletin, Vol 38, p. 36-48. [2] After the downfall of the monarchy on August 10, 1792, Thierry was imprisoned and his belongings were seized. He died in the massacres at the Prison de l'Abbaye in September, 1792. [3] James Swan was a merchant established in Paris, and was appointed an official agent for the purchase of supplies in the United States in 1794 by the French Government. His partner was Johann-Caspar Schweizer, a Swiss. According to Howard Rice, the French Government placed at his disposal luxury goods to be exchanged in America for food supplies and war materials. The Swan and Schweizer agency shipped these articles to the United States between 1794-1795, where much of it was sold. However, this piece was among those that Swan kept for his personal use. See H. Rice "James Swan, Agent of the French Republic 1794-1796" The New England Quarterly, Vol. X, No. 3, Sept. 1937, p. 464-486.

Credit Line

Swan Collection. Gift of Miss Elizabeth H. Bartol

Lit d'alcove

French (Paris), 1787


Overall: 140.3 x 160.7 x 213.2 cm (55 1/4 x 63 1/4 x 83 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Carved and gilded beech