Most of the campaign furniture on the market is associated with the time of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries when there was a high demand from military officers, administrators and colonists.
Campaign furniture is demountable, through clever use of wooden screws and sometimes metal hinges, so that it can disassembled and then packed into lots of managable size for ease of movement by ship or animal between postings or camps.
The most common example of campaign furniture is the chest, which breaks into an upper and lower section, each with brass or rope handles at the sides. The corners are protected by brass cappings, and the handles are recessed so they are flush with front of the chest. The usual form is two half drawers and three full drawers, standing on baluster legs which usually unscrew, again for ease of transport.
Many campaign chests bear the label or plate of the retailer or maker, such as the Army & Navy Stores in London or Ross & Co. of Dublin, Ireland. more...Other examples can be found that were made in India in the late 19th century, for use by the occupying British army, in local timbers such as camphor wood and teak, which resembles a paler version of mahogany when polished but without the grain markings.
The campaign chest is the most commonly seen item, but a wide variety of items were produced including beds, chairs, tables and desks.
Because of its situation, use and frequent moves, campaign furniture often bears the scars of its extensive travelled life.
Learn about Chest of Drawers
Until the mid-19th century, the standard chest had either four long, or three long and two short drawers. Rarely were there any exceptions to this rule. A chest with three drawers, or a series of small upper drawers, purporting to be Georgian, will probably have been converted from a chest-on-chest or tallboy. It is true that the 18th century commode often contain two long deep drawers, but this was a much grander and more decorative piece altogether, intended for drawing rooms, not bedrooms, and in any case was usually made to stand on legs. The standard chest of drawers continued to be made throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries (some Edwardian pine chests even had bracket feet), but variations were introduced during the mid-Victorian period, with some chests having seven or more drawers usually a deep hat drawer and smaller glove compartments. Chests with barley-sugar twist or split bobbin-turned supports date from the mid-19th century.
A West Australian jarrah campaign style chest of drawers c.1910. Marked inner 'H. G. Hunter, maker Perth ..127 Bulwer?, Oct 4th 1910'. The chest has two half drawers, over two full size drawers manufactured in a 'Campaign style' with recessed brass handles
A 19th century mahogany campaign chest, raised on bracket feet, the lower half with two full width drawers, the top with one full width and two of half width, inset brass drawer handles and with brass handles to the sides of both portions, brass strapping,
A good 19th century mahogany secretaire campaign chest. Two section split form, with secretaire. The fall enclosing birdseye maple drawers and pigeon holes, red leather inset writing surface, all above three long drawers, inset brass corner capping, strapp
A Georgian mahogany small proportion military campaign chest of four drawers in two sections, each drawer with oak lining, the fronts with beaded edging and inlaid recessed handles (some parts absent), wrought iron carry handles fixed to either side, the f
A 19th century mahogany military campaign chest of unusual configuration, by the 'Army & Navy C.S.L. (Makers)', in a configuration of two drawers above three of full width, the upper section right hand drawer opening as a secrétaire and with an interior fi
The Chauvel campaign chest, an Anglo-Indian teak and brass bound campaign chest, circa 1870, property of Captain (later Major) C.G.T. Chauvel, 35th Regiment the rectangular top with brass corners above four long drawers with reeded decoration and brass han
A 2 door campaign chest with lidded drawers, mid 19th century, walnut and mahogany?. The chest comprises of 12 drawers each having, fitted covers with brass handles, with two wrought, iron carrying handles opposite ends. Height 42 cm. Width 96 cm. Depth 42
A teak military secretaire chest, the upper section with a full width drawer, the front opening to reveal pigeon holes and small drawers, above two drawers of half width, the lower section with two drawers of full width, all with recessed brass handles, br
Campaign mahogany chest of drawers, brass bound with recessed brass handles, two long drawers, three short drawers and one small drawer with brass loop handles. Height 86 cm. Depth 53.5 cm. Length 113 cm
A 19th century mahogany secretaire campaign chest, of two section form with a secretaire drawer, the fall enclosing drawers and pigeon holes, above three drawers, inset brass corner capping, strapping and handles, raised on short turned legs. 101 cm high,
A Victorian Anglo-Colonial teak campaign chest, latter half 19th century, of typical form in two halves with two short above three long drawers, with brass flush handles to the drawers and protective brass corners throughout, brass carrying handles to the
A Victorian mahogany campaign chest, latter half 19th century, of typical form in two halves with four long drawers, on turned feet, with brass flush handles to the drawers and sides and protective brass corners to the front. Height 107 cm. Width 91 cm. De
A good 19th century mahogany secretaire campaign chest, traditional split form with secretaire fitted with birdseye maple drawers and pigeon holes, green baize inset writing surface, all above three full width drawers, inset brass corner capping, strapping
A 19th century Anglo-Indian camphor wood military split chest, the top section with deep single secretaire drawer, the fall front revealing fitted interior and a leatherette writing surface above two deep full width drawers, recessed brass handles, corners
A mid-19th century cased mahogany military style chest of drawers - Ex Ballarat. 118 x 110 x 100 cm, in superb condition, 5 drawers, period hardware, original lock on upper drawer, with fabulous dovetailing. Resting on wooden ball star feet.
A mid 19th century mahogany campaign chest, the two sectional rectangular body with brass capped corners and an arrangement of five drawers, each with flush brass handles, flanked by iron loop handles, raised on turned feet, 99 x 112 x 47.5 cm.
A 19th century teak and brass bound campaign chest of drawers, the rectangular top above four long drawers with brass handles, raised on bracket feet, in two sections with carrying handles to either side, 73 cm wide x 43 cm deep x 96.5 cm high
A mahogany campaign chest, the top section with four drawers with two drawers to the lower section. Recessed brass handles to the front, iron handle ot the sides. Height 93.5 cm. Width 1100. Diameter 46.5 cm
A rare New Zealand colonial figured kauri military type chest of two sections with two drawers above a single drawer on a base section of two full. Width drawers, all solid figured kauri with brass recessed handles, corners and fittings. Height 95 cm. Widt
19th century walnut campaign cabinet on chest moulded cornice, cupboard below enclosed by two panel doors within scroll uprights, the split base with two short and three long drawers with steel carrying handles
A mid 18th century German walnut, fruitwood marquetry commode, the serpentine breccia marble top above a bombe front fitted with two short, a concealed drawer and two long drawers veneered sans travers with a marquetry panel of military trophies, the sides
An Australian Victorian cedar and brass bound secretaire campaign chest, the secretaire drawer and short drawer above three long graduating drawers on bun feet, secretaire possibly added later. Width 118 cm. Depth 48 cm. Height 113 cm
A Victorian camphorwood and brass bound secretaire campaign chest, the top plan drawer above a central fitted secretaire drawer, flanked by two short and one deep drawer above three long drawers on turned bun feet. Width 105 cm. Depth 48 cm. Height 117 cm
A good 19th century campaign chest, with brass inset handles and bindings, the base with two drawers and later stand, the upper section with secretaire drawer above another. Height 101 cm. Width 77 cm D40 cm
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