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Campaign style furniture

campaign dresser                                                                                      There are some beautiful campaign style dressers popping up on the internet as makeovers.  Look at these lovely painted versions in very bold colours.  Campaign style furniture was designed to be portable or “knock down”so that officers could take it with them when they went to war.  The brass edges and classic brass handles that both these dresser have were actually for practical purposes. The edges were reinforcement and the handles were used for looping straps through.  The furniture reflected the officer’s stature and was often of very high quality sometimes even made by Sheraton or Chippendale. An officer expected to have many of the conveniences of home when he went to far off places.  It was also ingenious in its design; there were, for example, chairs and tables whose legs either folded up or were removable and packed neatly into something.  The furniture lost its connection to the military in the 20th century when modern warfare changed how officers travelled but it has never lost its place in popular design.  The dark wood, usually mahogany or teak, and the brass fittings suggest luxury and history.


The most popular piece of furniture historically was the Wellington chest.  It was a tall, narrow chest of drawers; the right hand side of the frame overlapped the drawers and locked. Apparently, the Victorians came up with all kinds of secret compartments for this type of dresser.    Here is an example :   plymouth_auction_525                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Another simple but beautiful small table is what the French call a “gueridon”.  This is often a small round table supported by columns or a tripod of legs.  Campaign style ones have hinges or look like they would fold.  This picture is a good example:


My mother-in-law had a very nice folding Butler’s table that she would set up occasionally for a party.  It served as a bar and had a carved mahogany tray on the top and folding legs, something like this example:


Campaign furniture has also contributed a lot of folding chairs that we still use.  The Roorkhee chair is the forerunner of the portable canvas chair that goes into its own bag that most people use when they go camping or to an outdoor event.  You can still buy a Roorkhee chair made in India by  J&R Guram that is rosewood, canvas and buffalo hide.  It looks like this:Roorkhee_Chair_4c469a08ef384

According to Wikipedia, another popular folding chair was the Paragon chair which has had many modern versions, such as what is known today as a Butterfly chair.

My favourite pieces have to be the desks.  They usually have x-style legs and are simple but elegant designs like this version:


The Bombay Company which has made its name by making reproductions of fine English furniture has had many versions of campaign furniture.  The name of the company was chosen because it conjures up images of the British Raj and classic wood furniture.

I recently purchased 2 end tables off Kijji that I was going to paint in AS Old White because the tops are scratched.  However, I like them so much in their original wood that I probably won’t do anything to them.  They are a modern version of campaign style as they have Parsons legs but do have the brass edges. IMG_0480


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