7 of the most famous beds in history

From John Lennon’s protest bed to Tracey Emin’s unmade art piece, some beds are far more famous for other things than for just being slept in.

The humble bed. We don’t tend to pay it much attention, unless it’s causing us a bad night’s sleep.

But from literary stars to leading figures in the art world, the bed has made its mark in history in more ways than one.

Here are seven most iconic beds of all time…

John and Yoko’s protest bed

The 'bed-in' was John Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous protest of the Vietnam War. Inspired by non-violent 'sit-in' protests, the two spent a week in bed in both Amsterdam and Montreal in 1969. The events were filmed and later turned into a documentary movie titled 'Bed Peace'.

The Amsterdam bed-in coincided with the couple’s honeymoon, and their overall popularity and media exposure ensured that their message reached a wide audience. When people say newlyweds spend their whole honeymoon in bed we don't think this is what they had in mind!

Elvis Presley’s hamburger bed

This iconic heavy velvet bed is considered a piece of rock and roll memorabilia. First designed for Elvis Presley, it hosts a number of modern gadgets including a television and stereo in the headboard.

Christened the 'hamburger bed' by Elvis's daughter Lisa Marie due to is general bun-like appearance, the bed resided in the Country Music Hall of Fame until 2007, when it was sold on eBay for a staggering $50,000. Given the star’s love of burgers in later life this bed was definitely fit for the King.

Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’

This messy bed is also a work of art that has been exhibited in the Tate Gallery by British artist Tracey Emin. Titled 'My Bed' she has often referred to it as a piece as 'confessional artwork' as it represents her struggle with suicidal depression after a bad breakup.

The bed is displayed in a state of abject disarray, the sheets rumpled and stained with numerous object strewn on and around it including condoms, old underwear and magazines.

The bed was eventually bought by the advertising mogul and art collector Charles Saatchi for £150,000. Emin's ex-boyfriend Billy Childish later stated that he had an old bed of hers in the shed that he would make available for £20,000.

The Cradle of the King of Rome

This opulent crib was the bed of Napoleon's only heir Napoleon II - who would later become Emperor of France. The magnificent piece was the result of a collaboration between a number of prominent 19th century artisans including the sculptor Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the silversmith Charles Nicolas Odiot and the painter Pierre-Paul Prud'hon.

It was later given as a gift to Napoleon II's mother, Empress Marie Louise. The famous cot is visible in the background of one of the painter Francois Gerard's portraits of the pair. The young emperor-to-be also received a 101-cannon salute on the day of his birth but we think he probably appreciated the bed more.

The ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ Bed

The 1971 Walt Disney classic musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks is based on two books by the author Mary Norton and features a very unusual bed. In the film three children are evacuated to Dorset during the Blitz to live with Eglantine Price, an apprentice witch studying with the Correspondence College of Witchcraft.

Eglantine enchants a bedknob that will transport the children to any location they wish when it’s attached to an antique bed that belonged to her father. The apprentice witch and the children fly off on a magical adventure on the bewitched brass bed. The movie’s ground-breaking mix of filmed footage and animation netted an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for Disney.

The Princess’s Bed in The Princess and the Pea

In the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Anderson, a princess is forced to sleep atop a lofty bed of mattresses to prove her royal blood.

In the story, a prince in need of a wife is finding it difficult to meet a real princess to marry. When a young girl shows up in the middle of a storm, the prince’s mother concocts a plan to prove her royal credentials by placing a single pea underneath 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds as only a real princess would be sensitive enough to feel the pea.

The next morning the princess complains of a poor night’s sleep due to something hard in the bed, the kingdom rejoices and the two are wed.

The Great Bed of Ware

This colossal oak four-poster bed constructed by the carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke in 1580 was originally housed in the White Hart Inn in Ware, England. Measuring 10 by 11 feet, the gigantic bed could reputedly sleep 15 people comfortably.

Many of those who used the bed carved their names into the posts, and it was even mentioned in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. In the 19th century the bed was moved to another Ware inn, the Saracen's Head, and after a brief stint in a pleasure garden in the 1920s is now on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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