In 1882, the French Silversmiths Christofle in Paris received an anonymous order. It was for a silver bed, but the specifications were so strange that it absolutely astounded them. The order was for a bed of ‘dark wood decorated with applied sterling silver with gilded parts, monograms and arms, ornamented with four life-size bronze figures painted in flesh colour with natural hair, movable eyes and arms, holding fans and horse tails’.
After working on it for four years, the bed was ready for delivery. It was made of dark rosewood and plated with 260 kg of silver. On four sides were figurines, representing women of France, Spain, Italy and Greece. With the press of a button, through a clever mechanical winding, the figurines were able to wink and fan, while a thirty minute interlude from Gaunod’s Faust, played in the background.
Enjoying the article so far?