Lot 19
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Teakwood with brass steps
Full Size
93.75 x 13.75 x 2.5 in (238.5 x 35.5 x 6.4 cm)
Folded Size
105.75 x 2.5 x 2.5 in (268.6 x 6.4 x 6.4 cm)

In the 18th and 19th centuries, increased travel from Britain to Africa and India led to the requirement for portable furniture. The growing demand from not just military officers, but civilians, emigrants and passengers on ships sailing from Britain prompted London cabinetmakers and travel outfitters to create furniture that could be quickly and easily folded up, packed in boxes, transported and reassembled without the use of nails, tacks or tools. "Because travel in the eighteenth century was rugged and slow, campaign furniture was specifically designed to be... packed into manageable loads that could be stowed in the closed quarters of a ship before being carried across land by both man and beast.' (Nicholas A Brawer, British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740 - 1914, New York: Harry N Abrams, Inc., 2001, p. 34) Campaign Furniture, which included chests, writing desks, bookcases, games tables, and chairs, emerged as a distinct category.

"In the eighteenth century, folding furniture became fashionable; and designers vied with each other to invent furniture with adjustable, movable, and retractable parts. Cabinets were often specially equipped with sliding, adjustable, or disappearing mirrors; folding or swiveling candle brackets; specially equipped drawers for the toilet or for shaving; writing slides; adjustable reading flaps, etc." (Stanley Northcote-Bade, quoted in Brawer, p. 34) Furniture-makers maintained as many features of the best civilian furniture as possible, including the use of fine woods such as teak, mahogany, beechwood, rosewood, cedar, oak, camphorwood and walnut. Most of the furniture came with an outer box or canvas cover to protect the wood while in transit. These pieces could be easily assembled to be used outdoors, or in a new home where an officer might have been posted.

Campaign furniture was largely designed keeping durability, practicality and ease of transport inmind. Some changes in material and form resulted as furniture makers responded to local climates and customs. For example, the use of cane grew increasingly popular in the 19th century, and was used for both the seat and the backrest of chairs. It decreased the weight of the furniture and was an ideal material which allowed for ventilation in the hot and tropical climate of India. Chair arms were padded with leather for comfort. Hollow metal tubing, another well-received innovation, was popular as it was insect-resistant. Brass and cast iron furniture came into style, and local woods such as Coromandel were also used. Some pieces even had secret compartments to hide personal effects.

The largest consumers of campaign furniture were the administrators and officials of the Indian subcontinent. The influence of Indian motifs can be seen in some of the furniture from the 19th century, which incorporates Indian motifs, including floral and foliate designs. Most campaign furniture, however, was primarily British in style. The production of campaign furniture began decreasing by the time of the First World War.

  Lot 19 of 80  

27-28 JULY 2016


Winning Bid
Rs 1,29,888

(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)



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