Your bed is probably something you don't think too much about. As long as it's comfy and offers a place to lay your head at night, you might not give it a second thought once you're up and about. However, some beds have become so iconic that they've earned their place in history. Read on to find out more about the special beds that have become engraved in popular culture.
Elvis Presley's 'burger' bed
The king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley, owned a famous 'burger bed' that has become a legendary piece of music memorabilia. The extra-large bed was actually called the Hamburg bed, but it was later nicknamed the hamburger or burger bed by Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie.
It was specially designed for Presley at the height of his fame and featured the latest technology at the time, such as a stereo and television fixed inside the headboard. It was a place where Elvis and his wife Priscilla could relax and watch TV or listen to music.
Its rounded mattress shape and padded fluffy headboard resembled a giant hamburger in a bun - perhaps unintentionally! Following Presley's death, his famous bed remained in the Country Music Hall of Fame until 2007, when it was sold for a relatively modest £42,000, considering the identity of its former owner.
John and Yoko’s anti-war protest bed
John Lennon and Yoko Ono organised their legendary 'bed in' as a protest against the Vietnam war in 1969. The peaceful protest, inspired by the non-violent 'sit in' protests of the era, saw the pair spending a week in bed in hotels in both Montreal and Amsterdam, with peace slogans scrawled on the wall behind the headboard.
The famous couple attracted the world's press and their extremely relaxed, horizontal protest was turned into a documentary called Bed Peace. The Amsterdam stint at the Hilton Hotel was actually their honeymoon, as they shrewdly realised their high profile would lead to massive media exposure for their peace message.
They then staged a similar protest in Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel. The world's press was invited into their hotel room daily between 9 am and 9 pm, where John and Yoko were sitting in bed, wearing pyjamas and talking about peace underneath the signs over their bed.
Vincent Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles
This famous bed belonged to the legendary Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh, who was born in 1853. The small single bed was much like many other wooden beds at the time. However, it was special not only because it was Van Gogh's actual bed, but also because of the particularly quirky style of his painting.
His bedroom in the Yellow House, in Arles, France, was a place where he spent a lot of time, hence why he painted it in his famous work of art in 1888. The bed frame was a yellow colour, contrasting with other striking colours in the otherwise rather basic, small room. Art experts later suggested the colours appeared brighter than in reality because they had intensified due to the painting's age.
Entitled Bedroom in Arles, the painting provided a unique insight into Van Gogh's personal life. He had furnished the room very simply himself with plain wooden furniture. His own paintings were hung on the wall above the bed. He lived in Arles from 1888 to 1889 and was very creative while there.
Tracey Emin's My Bed
The British artist Tracey Emin caused controversy when she exhibited her work of art - an unmade bed - at the Tate Gallery in 1999. Art critics and the public argued over whether the messy bed could actually be considered a true work of art.
It was labelled 'confessional artwork' and was said to represent Emin's feelings of depression after a relationship ended badly. It was a double bed in a state of continual disarray, with the sheets dirty and crumpled and objects such as underwear strewn around, causing further controversy.
After the display in the Tate ended, the art collector and advertising mogul Charles Saatchi bought the unmade bed for £150,000. Emin's ex-partner, Billy Childish, later quipped he had Emin's old bed in his shed that he would sell for £20,000.
Napoleon II's crib
While a crib isn't normally too exciting, this one belonged to the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte's only son and heir, Napoleon II, born in 1811. It was a truly magnificent cradle, the result of a collaboration between several leading 19th-century artisans.
These included silversmith Charles Nicolas Odiot, sculptor Pierre-Philippe Thomire and painter Pierre-Paul Prud'hon. The crib was made as a gift for Napoleon II's mother, Empress Marie Louise. The ceremonial 'throne cradle' had a distinctly military look.
It was made from 280 kg of silver, complete with symbols of the government and power - the horns of plenty - and also images of a laurel wreath, a Roman Capitoline Wolf, a crown of stars and numerous bees. Emperor Napoleon had chosen the bee as his personal emblem. Napoleon II’s cradle is located in Vienna's Imperial Treasury today.
How comfy was the famous beds of yesteryear?
While the most famous beds in history have become legends in their own right, they were unlikely to have served the purpose of inducing comfortable sleep! Elvis Presley's bed had too many technology distractions and John and Yoko's honeymoon bed was continually descended upon by the world's press.
While Van Gogh's yellow wooden bed looked colourful, mattresses in the 19th century didn't have the same levels of comfort as today's well-upholstered beds with their made-to-measure mattresses.
Today's beds not only look fabulous, but they also put the emphasis on comfort, enabling us to choose whether to purchase a firm mattress, a soft one, or something in between.
Today's choice of luxury bespoke beds and mattresses may not have reached legendary status yet, but they will certainly ensure comfort and a good night's sleep.
Contact Endurance Beds to choose from our wide selection of beds, mattresses and other bedroom furniture, with free UK delivery offered on all orders.
By Shane Cousins on