Half Tester beds

Raining cats and dogs?

Louis VI “half tester” bed made to specification from a picture found in a book by our client, walnut was the chosen timber for its strength, its ability to be shaped into elaborate curves and carved details and most of all for its beauty.

A “half tester” is a form of canopy. It differs from traditional “four poster” canopies as its only attached to the headboard. Why have a canopy?

Retention of heat of course was a major consideration as was privacy as servants slept in the same room. The canopy top on a bed was always covered with material and then curtain’s hung down from all four sides giving an enclosed warm, tent effect. Also, in olden days dwellings were constructed with sod and thatch roofs.

A roof of this nature was far from being weather tight. It also was constantly being dug into by rodents looking for a warm place to sleep and the cats and dogs of the household would shelter there too. The creatures would burrow through the roof and it was not uncommon for them to fall on top of the occupants of the bed!

A strong material cover over the top of the canopy poles would prevent the creatures from ending up in bed with the owners of the house! Hence the expression “Raining cats and dogs”