This bed spent time in one of the world's most famous brothels
The mid-19th century bed, made from Cuban mahogany, has a large naked mermaid carved into wood above the headboard.
It weighs a staggering 530kg and, while the precise history remains shrouded in history, experts associate it with the legendary Hôtel de la Païva in Paris.
This was the Champs-Elysée love nest of Esther Lachmann, known as Le Paiva, who was one of the richest courtesans of the Second Empire in France.
Art has always existed to tell a human story, and sex has always been a part of that story
Le Paiva married on numerous occasions and was described as a "positively ruthless" woman with "highly dubious, if at all existent, morals".
She spent a fortune on furniture and it is believed she commissioned the bed but it was never installed at the Paris mansion.
Instead, it ended up in 'La Fleur Blanche', a world renowned brothel in Paris which was visited by kings, crown princes, members of the aristocracy, and numerous heads of state.
The bed was inspired by a boat
The enormous piece of furniture, which is inspired by a boat and is guided by two swans on either side, was kept in a lavish bedroom which had a ceiling-sized mirror looking down on it.
Brothels were banned after World War Two and the contents of the establishment were sold at auction in 1946.
The family of the person who bought the half-tonne bed 70 years ago have had the "exceptional" piece of furniture moved to London for Sotheby's 'Erotic: Passion and Desire' sale tomorrow.
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Sotheby's, which describes the bed as "one of the most extraordinary pieces of 19th century decorative arts", has given it a guide price of £500,000 to £800,000 – making it one of the most valuable beds to appear at auction in recent years.
The auction house said: "The true uniqueness of this matchless piece lies not merely in its colossal proportions, but also, and probably most importantly, in its remarkable, bold fluidity.
"In a century that, in France and in Europe in general, is renowned for its incessant revival of style and pastiches, and constant looking back to the experiences of a glorious, bygone past, the Païva bed stands apart as one of its very first entirely original creations."
The bed is one of a number of erotic items which Sotheby's is auctioning
The bed is one of a number of erotic items from antiquity to the present day which Sotheby's is auctioning as part of its Passion & Desire sale on Bond Street, London.
Other lots include nude drawings by Pablo Picasso and Gustav Klimt, naked Roman marble statues going back as far as the 1st Century and a number of photos.
Constantine Frangos, Head of Sale, said: "Art has always existed to tell a human story, and sex has always been a part of that story – whether it is there to compel, to shock or to seduce.
"Indeed, eroticism in art has appeared in whatever form art has taken, and our exhibition will take the viewer on a journey through the centuries."