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The Renowned Collection

Bed Steps

As its name suggests, this curious form of furniture helped young, old, and infirm users climb into a bed.

New York
Bed steps, c. 1810s-20s
Mahogany mahogany veneer, tulip poplar, white pine, brass, original wool
ingrain carpet
Gift of funds from Lila Acheson Wallace and other donors F76.39

This example, apparently inspired by a drawing in Thomas Sheraton’s The Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book (published 1793, 1794, and 1803) had a secondary, secret use. The middle section slides forward and is hinged to lift up, revealing a compartment for a chamber pot. The top step lifts up to reveal a narrow storage compartment.

Boscobel’s collection includes a surprising number of furniture related to toilet use—all designed with convenience, modesty, and elegance in mind.

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