A long day at Bishop Auckland again on Friday, much of it on the nuts and bolts of the redevelopment, which is all exciting but not terribly blogworthy.
But then, at the end of the day, a glimpse of a truly jawdropping object, just acquired: the Paradise Bed, which now seems, pretty clearly, to be the bed made for the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York in 1486. It would be nice to say it was the bed in which Prince Arthur and Henry VIII were conceived - and it might be. But it clearly dates from that era, is very high-quality workmanship, and is topped with separate white and red York and Lancaster roses. The united Tudor rose only became a viable symbol once the marriage was made and the prince born.
Best of all, though, is the headboard:
Adam and Eve for a marriage-bed might seem obvious enough, if not subtle. It's been suggested that Adam and Eve's faces are carved to resemble the royal couple, which is possible if not exactly conclusive. But the best bit is the text on the cartouche: 'The sting of death is sinne / The strength of sinne is the law' (I Cor 15:56). Romantic, eh?