In her book If Walls Could Talk, Lucy Worsely, chief curator at few palatial locations in London including Kensington palace, chronicles the history of the bedroom and what purpose it served in times past. Bedrooms are like a still life portrait of their inhabitant, and can give insight into the kind of life they led. Here are a few interesting bedroom ‘portraits’ of popular historical figures.
One of the world’s most famous monarchs, Queen Victoria shaped the course of modern history during her reign, ushering in the industrial revolution. Before she became queen, Victoria spent her sheltered, stringent childhood years until she was 18 in this bedroom in Kensington Palace. She spent her last night here, in this densely decorated room before she was deemed queen.
Mahatma Ghandi’s bedroom
Mahatma Ghandi was a beacon of peace, enlgihtenment, and. His peaceful struggle led India to independence from Britain, and inspired civil rights movements across the world. This bedroom is a recreation of his attic bedroom in the Satyagraha House, his residence in South Africa. The house is now a museum as well as a guest house. The house maintains the same feeling as the bedroom, and is beautiful in its simplicity while echoing a sense of peace.
On the extreme side of Ghandi is Marie Antoinette – who was known for her extravagance in, well, almost everything. She had multiple bedrooms in the palace of Versaille, decorated in the high splendour of the time. Although she had a flamboyant personality, she was definitely a tragic historical figure. This darker, somber side of her characted is seen in the rooms not usually open to the public, which project her unique sense of style but have a haunting atmosphere.
Chairman Mao, as he is known to the world, was a leading figure in the the chinese communist revolution. He is commonly thought of as the father of the People’s Republic of China, and was the country’s leader until his death in 1976.
His bedroom, where he established the china’s first revolutionary base in 1927, reflects his conservatism and anti-capitalist principles in its frugality and simplicity.
How does your bedroom portray your identity?
Learn more about If Walls Could Talk.