A 19th Century Campaign Chest

A 19th Century Campaign Chest

Regular price £2,200.00 Sale

A monumental camphor wood Chinese export campaign chest from the late 19th century.

Flush brass drawer handles, bracket feet but also with removable turned legs, deliciously smelling camphor wood to protect against months and four very large deep drawers are all part of this huge chest. The addition of carrying handles to the sides, not often found in purely English versions, is also an attractive detail and useful for carrying the piece.

Coming apart in two pieces with carrying handles to each side makes this transportable piece of history just as useful now as it was back in the military days of travelling by ship for months at a time in the late 19th century. If you’ve wanted a chest of drawers to be able to navigate a winding staircase in your home then this is for you.

History: Campaign furniture is a type of furniture that was specifically designed for travel and dates as far back as Roman times but made most famous (and which most of it was made for) during military campaigns and the Napoleonic wars. Different manufacturers raced to design the best and sell it to high ranking military members and was designed in such a way that it could easily be disassembled, packed, and carried on the march.

Typically English campaign chests didn’t have carrying handles to the sides (although most people falsely believe any piece of furniture with handles to the side is “campaign” furniture) and were packed inside painted pine that would have a secondary use once the destination was reached. Anglo Indian and Chinese export however more often did have carry handles to the side, perhaps to be tied down on naval ships and would be wrapped in lashings of canvas for protection.

We can see from the two paper labels to the rear of this campaign chest the owners name in the middle of the 20th century which adds some nice provenance. We acquired this from a large property on a crown estate on the outskirts of London. 


138cm high with feet

126cm high without feet

118cm wide

61cm deep

The clean lines and ingenious practicality of campaign furniture is what makes it so attractive for any room in the home today.






Please note delivery is not included, you must enquire with us prior to purchasing for an accurate delivery quote should you require delivery.