Collections: Decorative Arts: Convertible Bed in Form of Upright Piano

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Saint James Major, part of an altarpiece

Saint James Major was one of Christ\'s apostles and the patron saint of pilgrims, those devoted and adventurous Christians who made their wa...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Tile

    These tiles set in a plain, painted wooden frame were probably arranged in this manner for display in a showroom, as opposed to the more ela...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    CUR.86.176_interior_bw.jpg 86.176_transp2835.jpg 86.176.jpg 86.176_closed_bw.jpg 86.176_mark_bw.jpg 86.176_open_bw.jpg 86.176_threequarter_bw.jpg CUR.86.176_mark_bw.jpg 86.176_bw.jpg

    Convertible Bed in Form of Upright Piano

    The piano was an important element of the parlor in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was a focus of family life and attested to the social aspirations of the owner. The consumer of this convertible piano-bed could, in a way, have his cake and eat it too--enjoying the propriety that a piano conferred on his parlor while gaining a reasonably comfortable sleeping unit for a large family living in limited space. The amusing idea of sleeping in a piano (or a fancy parlor cabinet, in the case of the parlor bedstead) must have been part of the furniture's appeal.

    • Artist: Smith & Co.
    • Medium: Ebonized woods, metal
    • Place Manufactured: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Dates: ca. 1885
    • Dimensions: 55 1/2 x 54 3/4 x 27 in. (141 x 139.1 x 68.6 cm)  (show scale)
    • Markings: On back, stamped: "5734A"; stenciled: "SMITH & c." Two fragmentary paper labels [give directions on how to open and use bed; see files for full text]
    • Collections:Decorative Arts
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 86.176
    • Credit Line: Gift of Elinor Merrell
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Smith & Co.. Convertible Bed in Form of Upright Piano, ca. 1885. Ebonized woods, metal, 55 1/2 x 54 3/4 x 27 in. (141 x 139.1 x 68.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Elinor Merrell, 86.176. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: interior, CUR.86.176_interior_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
    • Catalogue Description: Convertible bed in form of upright piano. When closed: Rectangular case with paneled sides; front has paneled lower section with 2 pedals and on each side of case, s-scrolled brackets support sham keyboard. Above keyboard is central music rest of framed, fan-shaped fretwork, flanked by two panels of fretwork of palmettes and scrollwork. Lid hinges open and front of "piano" hinges at base to open to bed with mesh and wire support for mattress. CONDITION: Finish discolored and "whitish" throughout. Proper right lower support for scroll bracket is loose. Minor cracks and separation in flanking fretwork panels on front.
    • Record Completeness: Best (92%)

    Related Video

    embed code:
    advanced 109,754 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please note, the Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. Please see our FAQ.

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.