Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Cavalry Chest.

Why the Cavalry chest ? Though very likely this term was used prior to this we first came across the name in the Army & Navy Stores Catalogue of 1907.  It's name giving connotations of a superior model.
This teak example below matches the one pictured above in all aspects apart from size being a standard campaign chest size of 39 inches and has the A&N ivorine plaque to the top right drawer.

The listing notes a model that was available with a superstructure with mirror but this is not pictured on the page. We have had examples of this model and below is one that matched the description even down to the size of 3 ft. 9 inches.

One fact that isn't included in the description above and is worth noting is that timber that borders the leather adjustable writing area tends to be a veneer of an exotic timber. We have come across coramandel, rosewood and maple. This may have been an additional extra.

As with most pieces of standard campaign furniture from the mid 19th century onwards different makers made similar models to each other. Whether they called them Cavalry chests we cannot be sure until their trade catalogues come to light.

The following chest which sadly doesn't have a makers name on it is an interesting example that shows some unusual characteristics.

This chest has a number of small differences that set it aside from the A&N CSL model. It has inset brass carrying handles to the sides; the secretaire drawer is the first long drawer as opposed to the second; the writing section has a small campaign handle to lift it and is adjustable on a lectern foot instead of resting on the hinged stationery section and there isn't a secret compartment to the right of the secretaire but 3 inkwell sized divisions. However, perhaps the most important difference is that the fronts of the drawers are veneered in figured walnut, which is something we have not previously seen on this model of campaign chest.

By Simon Clarke.