08 Mar 2021


March 6, 2014 - Filed under: Campaign Chests — Mandy

Any furniture specifically made to breakdown or fold for ease of travel can be described as campaign furniture. It was designed to be packed up and carried on the march. It has been used by traveling armies since at least the time of Julius Caesar but it is commonly associated with British Army Officers, many of whom had purchased their commissions. With the rise and expansion of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries the demand by the military, administrators and colonists increased. British officers of high social position in the Georgian and Victorian periods (1714–1901) often carried high quality portable furniture.

The most common item of campaign furniture is the chest of drawers, often referred to as a military chest or campaign chest. A standard campaign chest will be made of either mahogany or teak and break down into two sections with removable legs. The brass corners and strap work offer some protection and typify the distinctive ‘campaign look’.

Some items of campaign furniture are instantly recognisable as made to dismantle or fold. Brass caps to the tops of legs, hinges in unusual places, protruding bolts or X-frame legs all give clues to the functionality of the piece. However, some makers of campaign furniture were careful to ensure that their work was up to date and fashionable, thus making it more commercial. In such cases, as much of it looked like domestic furniture, it is harder to see how it dismantles. Ross and Co. of Dublin were innovators of campaign furniture design and much of their work is obviously Victorian in period. It only becomes apparent that their balloon back chairs dismantle when they are turned upside down and two locking bolts can be seen.

regency_period_mahogany_antique_campaign_chest_016See this campaign chest on our website under current stock/chests

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