Renaissance state bed in the Golden Hall, Urach Palace

A luxurious piece of Renaissance furnitureThe state bed

The state bed was commissioned in celebration of the 1585 wedding of Duke Ludwig von Württemberg and Ursula von Pfalz-Veldenz. The representative piece of Renaissance furniture has ornate carvings, a truly stately piece of furniture, created for an important occasion.

Detail of the Renaissance state bed in the Golden Hall, Urach Palace

Designed with a closed rear panel and a straight canopy.

Well-formed and richly decorated

Its shape, a bedstead with a post canopy, is typical of a formal 16th-century bed. The closed headboard and the straight canopy indicates that the state bed is of a more traditional type. In the late Renaissance, their structure became more delicate and curved. The head- and footboards, in particular, are elaborately embellished. The ornamentation, called tail and scroll work, is typical of the Renaissance period. Eleven different woods were used for the appliqué and inlay. The headboard displays the bride and groom's coat of arms below a Latin aphorism. Translated: “The lord gives all and loses nothing in doing so.”

Detail of the bridal bed in the Golden Hall, Urach Palace

Ornate Renaissance carpentry.

The bride and groom

After the death of his first wife, Dorothee Ursula von Baden-Durlach, Duke Ludwig von Württemberg (1554–1593) married a second time: thirteen-year-old Ursula von Pfalz-Veldenz. It is unclear whether or not the official consummation took place at Urach Residential Palace. This ritual, in which the couple goes to bed together in their festive clothing and in front of witnesses, was an important part of nuptials at the time. The state bed was the appropriate setting for this practice. Their marriage in 1585 remained childless. When Duke Ludwig died eight years later, Ursula relocated to her dower house in Nürtingen. She mourned her husband until her death in 1635 and never married again.

View of the Renaissance bed in the Golden Hall, Urach Palace

Today, the luxurious bed stands in the Golden Hall.

A showpiece with many unsolved mysteries

There is no information on the workshop in which the bed was built. The piece, one of very few surviving state beds from the Renaissance period, is not listed in the inventories of Urach Palace. Even at an auction of palace furniture in 1819, it is nowhere among the listed items. What remains unclear is if the state bed was not located at Urach Palace at the time, or if a conscious decision was made not to auction it off. It now stands in the Golden Hall next to the model likeness of Count Heinrich von Württemberg.

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