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24th November 2022

The two perfectly-made beds with plump eiderdowns in Bedroom with a Figure, Bar House, East Riding of Yorkshire (undated, after 1914, Beverley Art Gallery) by Mary Elwell (1874-1952) reflect the "rise and fall of twin beds as a popular sleeping arrangement for married couples between 1870 and 1970", as examined by Hilary Hinds in A Cultural History of Twin Beds (2019). Hinds cites the example of Natalie in The New House: "She had been glad when they followed the changing fashion and bought two single beds, although she would never have admitted to herself or anyone else that she did not like the physical proximity." (Interestingly, a later painting by Mary Elwell shows the same bedroom but with a four-poster double bed.)

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