Bed down for the day at Chillon castle

The Bernese Chamber (room 16) is home to a piece of furniture that happens to be one of Chillon Castle’s main attractions: a magnificent four-poster bed.

Translation by Amy Reid

Lit en bois situé dans la Chambre bernoise.

The bed in the Bernese room dates from the 17th century.

Made from walnut, it dates back to the 17th century and originates from the Swiss canton of Valais. On the headboard, you can see the coat of arms of the Schiner family, a family that brought many significant religious, political and military personalities into the world. The most famous was, without a doubt, Matthäus Schiner who was Bishop of Sion, later a cardinal, and almost even the pope (1465-1522). This crest tells us that this piece of furniture undoubtedly shared quarters with this illustrious family.


Les armoiries de la famille Schiner sont visibles sur le lit de la chambre bernoise.

The Schiner family coat of arms is visible on the bed in the Bernese room.

The bed was acquired by the Association for the Restoration of Chillon Castle in the 1930s, along with other furniture from the same period, with the aim of recreating the room’s past. In the 17th century, Valais was a large and reputable production hub, which explains the provenance of this particular piece. The bed also belongs to the era in which the Bernese, who were the masters of the fortress from 1536, decorated the room surrounding it.

The very talented artisan who created this piece was the cabinetmaker, Alexander Mayer, from the German region of Swabia. He made countless pieces of household and religious furniture but is perhaps most famous for the walnut choir stalls at the Abbey of Saint Maurice in Valais. The Chillon collection, on the other hand, boasts one of his prestigious chests – a real work of art.

If we head back to the bed, you’ll notice a surprising detail: on the right-hand side of the frame there are what look like scratch marks from a large animal. Perhaps a bear or a lion sharpening its claws? The more mundane truth is that the bed was probably just scratched while being repositioned, although we’re not sure when. Whatever the story, these markings are a real talking point for our visitors.

Griffure en bois située sur l'armature du lit de la chambre bernoise.

This mysterious scratch questions many visitors of the castle.

Head to Chillon Castle for a glimpse of this glorious bed. But there’ll be no napping on this precious piece of heritage! If you need a rest, the sunny terrace by Café Byron is much more comfortable.

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