Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Canopy Bed in Federal Architecture

As we harkin back to the past, the canopy bed located in the famous Nichols museum is a prized possession of the wealthy folk. This canopy bed was hand carved, and completely separated from the machine by incorporating many design elements influenced by nature. This particular element places the canopy bed in a distinct time period as well as a distinct style. The federal style defines this artifact accurately, and would be the one American style that broke away from its English predecessors and took on pure democratic forms. English architecture around 1780-1810 related more commonly with the gothic style, however during the same time period the federal style began to take form, only this time around classical roots in Greek and roman architecture. The bald eagle was a common motif found in the federal style which in turn began to define the style. Another architectural moment that can be found in the federal style is oval, or hexagonal shaped rooms. One famous example would be the oval office in the white house. In terms of shaping space, bay windows are often a feature in the federal style that can be found in bedrooms, and sometimes dining spaces. Other defining features include decorated molds around the room and a repetition of other similar hand crafted items in the room to emphasize the canopy bed and its relevance to the room as a whole. Turning away from solids, the federal style encourages a strong relationship to light within the spaces by using light colors such as yellow and white. As shown in the drawing above the canopy bed placed within the space is coated with light warm tones to help bring out the more delicate formation in the bed posts. Other decorative features within the room include a lot of portraiture from the late baroque and neoclassical styles and large decorative rugs emphasizing nature found in the foundation of the artifact and its space.

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