The Bard’s Rest
  • The Bard’s Rest

    The Bard’s Rest


    FOR SALE AS SEEN AT HALLS CROFT Shakespeare's house Stratford Upon Avon 

    Price Upon Request - Please email


    The Bard’s Rest was created by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s artist in residence Lee Lapthorne 2019


    It is made from specially commissioned textiles inspired by objects held within the Trust’s archive collections.  Lee was particularly drawn to a rosette made for the David Garrick Shakespeare Jubilee held in 1769.


    ‘I was fascinated by the Garrick jubilee ribbon.  Not least, that it survived with all its rather vibrant colours and textures.  In wanting to give fresh expression to the original ribbon I worked closely with traditional English weave companies in Suffolk to create a new cloth layering textures, solid colour, matt and shiny stripes.’

    Lee Lapthorne


    Lee wanted to create a modern piece of furniture to juxtapose with the feeling of its setting within Hall’s Croft, once the home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, and her husband the physician John Hall.  The rich green textured painting is inspired by Shakespeare’s contemporary, the artist Pierre Soulages, and offers a strong base for the imagery and textures of this piece.  Green is often associated with luxury modern pieces of furniture and is a good base on this rare mid-20th-century, British made, Greaves and Thomas sofa bed.


    The large flowers on the back rest of the sofa are taken from the collection’s Gentlemen’s Nightcap (1601-25) and other textiles pieces, including the Embroidered Jacket (about 1610) which is elaborately decorated with a design of trailing stems and metal sequins, known at the time as ‘spangles’.


    ‘In choosing these pieces I somehow brought them back to life. One cannot help but wonder who their previous owners were and how they would feel about their treasures being use as inspiration for a contemporary sofa.’

    Lee Lapthorne


    The hand-machine embroidered pattern and hand-beaded base of the sofa is inspired by the lace cuffs in the painting of Mary Harvey, dated 1620, on display opposite the staircase at Halls Croft.


    Some of Shakespeare’s most well-known characters are embedded into the sofa and are inspired by illustrations or images of actors in performance.


    The characters depicted in the base cushions are (from left to right):

                Mercutio played here by John Gielgud (Romeo and Juliet)

                Ophelia (Hamlet)

                Ariel (The Tempest)


                Romeo and Juliet

                Macbeth played by George Skillan


    The characters depicted in the back-rest are (from left to right):

                Queen Margaret played by Dorothy Green (Henry V)

                Ariel (The Tempest)

                Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)


    The back panel of the sofa also features Shakespeare's coat of arms, his initials and texture inspired by the cover of a version of the Bible by John Speed (1551/2-1629), the English cartographer and historian


    ‘In researching the archives, I was drawn to works that immediately drew my attention, often because of their strong motifs and textures.  These pieces are also evocative and romantic.  It felt like plucking pieces from a bygone era rich with traces of their past and previous owners.’

    Lee Lapthorne



    Lee Lapthorne has also created another piece called The Love Settle, which is on display at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.