Christopher Clarke Antiques - From Chair to Cannon - Saturday 29th April - 13th May 2023 (Shop closed for the Coronation)
Online on our website and at our shop Christopher Clarke Antiques, Sheep Street, Stow on the Wold GL54 1JS
A selection of 18th and 19th century campaign furniture and travel items
Portable Drawers To Form A Sideboard
A walnut Secretaire Campaign Chest with packing cases to form a sideboard.
When used at its full length, this is an impressive piece of campaign furniture at over 6½ feet. It can also be used as three separate pieces: a chest of drawers and two pedestal cupboards. The two pedestals are the packing cases for the chest during travel but at camp would be bolted to either side of the chest. As they are deeper than the chest (to allow it to be packed inside), the chest and cupboards are lined up to the front which leaves a space to the back of the chest. A hinged board, with slide bolts that lock to the cupboard sides and lugs that locate to the back of the chest, fills this space. A shaped cresting rail, hinged to three places, is fixed to the back to unite the three parts.
This Sideboard Campaign Chest stands out for two reasons: it has figured walnut to the front and straight grain walnut to the chest sides and it has a short secretaire drawer. Normally these Sideboard Chest are mahogany, and the drawers are plain. Figured walnut with a secretaire would have been, and still is, the smartest version you could buy. The secretaire has one long and two short drawers with a pair of pigeonholes. At some stage, two tin drawers have been made to fit this pigeon holes. The secretaire drawer still has its retain board to prevent the internal drawers moving during transport and has a Bramah lock with key. All the other drawers have ash linings with quadrants and locks that work with the same key. The cupboards also have their own key. The straight grain walnut between the drawers, and other places, have original paint work to simulate the figured walnut.
The chest and cupboards all have removable feet on wooden threads and the knob handles to the cupboards also unscrew. The cupboards only have show wood to their doors with the rest painted pine or deal. Originally, they would each have had two linen slide drawers, long since gone. They would also have had painted pine or deal boards that would bolt onto the front of the doors to protect them. The tin strips that would also protect the cupboard edges have, at some point, been removed.
A few different makers offered this version of the Campaign Chest. J.W. & T. Allen offered a Portable Mahogany Drawers to form a Sideboard at £ 14 in their January 1855 catalogue. They noted that the packing case cupboards could also be used to form a separate sideboard with a Dressing Table or washstand to the centre. In 1883, the Army & Navy CSL’s catalogue described it as a ‘Portable Mahogany Sideboard Drawers … forming a complete wardrobe’ and priced it at £ 13 10s. More money
Double Extending Camp Table
A mahogany Camp Table with two leaves allowing it to triple its length.
This table is rare for having the two leaves, with the standard design just having one. It also stands out for having castors to the X frame legs. The design is described by Loudon much better than I could below. When set for use at its narrowest size, one leaf hangs vertically to the side of the open X frame legs whilst the other is set as the top over the extended webbing. The Butler’s tray can then be sat on top of the table or used separately. For use at its largest size, the two leaves are unfolded and the legs are screwed into their brass plate sockets to hold them in the horizontal position. The tray is then placed on the space between them.
The mahogany used is good and X frame legs and stretchers are wider and cut with a cock bead line. They have shaped blocks to their tops to set the gilt brass hinges wider so that the top overhangs the legs. The X frame legs have good, capped castors set at an angle. The tray is associated with the table and the turned legs are replaced but this is fairly typical for this form of Camp Table.
When stored, this Table takes up a relatively small space. The two leaves hang vertically alongside the folded X frame legs, held to them by mahogany twist catches. The removable, turned legs are held by webbing straps to the X frame and the tray is separate. This is a very versatile table that can be used in three different lengths or folded up when not in use. ‘Double versions of this form of table are uncommon. Circa 1800.
Captain's Chart Table
An unusual, Georgian Cuban mahogany table with desk and cupboards to the central pedestal.
It is likely that this piece of furniture was made for use on board ship, its multi-purpose being ideal for the quarters of a cabin that would also have housed cannon. It is a good-sized dining table that could also be used for laying out charts or maps; it has storage space; there is an area for writing and a drawer for taking writing equipment and papers etc. These attributes would, of course, also be useful in a domestic setting and it is possible that it may have been made for a gentleman's library. However, you might expect a library or office to also have a desk and so not need provision on such a piece of furniture.
The desk has a central pedestal with a cupboard to each end and a large table leaf to each side. Above each cupboard, to one side there is a drawer with shaped dividers to take inkwells, pens, instruments and papers and to the other a writing or reading board. They both have ring pull handles and the board, once pulled out will unfold to double in size and reveal a red baized surface. The cupboards each have one shelf that can be set to 15 different positions, some ridiculously low others far too high. The panelled doors have good hinges that allow them to open to a 180 degree angle. The central door handles and escutcheons are engraved gilt brass and, with the cupboards locked, can be used for the moving the desk on its castors.
The 4 lopers for the table flaps are unusual, mahogany bars with ring pull handles. They pull out from the top sides of the cupboard to a length of 13 inches and are hinged so that they will fold at a right angle once fully extended, to support the leaves. The full size of the table top is 63 inches (160 cm) with both flaps up.
The desk sits on a plinth base with bracket feet that hide the castors. The gilt, carved moulding decoration to the edges of the top, to the cupboard doors and the egg and dart moulding to the top of plinth base are in the manner of William Kent.
This is a one off, bespoke piece of furniture, probably commissioned by a wealthy naval officer whose status afforded him larger quarters on board ship. The only comparable piece of furniture we know of is a Georgian Cabin or Map Table that can be seen in our website archive. Although smaller in size, the proportions are similar and it was also likely made as a commissioned piece for a specific use. An interesting, early piece of Georgian travel furniture. Circa 1740.