Relevant categories: Cabinets and Chests,Desks
(Above photo - Walnut Campaign Chest of Drawers - Colonial Commode )
So you want to buy a campaign chest of drawers? Like any other antique furniture pieces, you can assess it by considering the quality, proportion, condition, color, and rarity. However, that wouldn't be exhaustive when it comes to buying campaign furniture. The following are some of the things you must look at to decide if you have a genuine campaign chest of drawers or not.
1. Check If It Is Campaign Furniture
(Above photo - Mahogany Campaign Chest of Drawers Colonial Furniture )
Many of the furniture pieces being presented as campaign furniture represent something different. For example, you may find chests of drawers with side handles included for easy carrying across the house. Others were dual-function pieces of furniture like the bachelor's chests. You may still come across a table that can become library steps, mistaking it for campaign furniture. So, always check if the chest of drawers had been used for travel. If so, then it is a campaign chest of drawers.
2. Check for Features That Make It Campaign Furniture
(Above photo - Antique Campaign Chest Secretaire Desk Secret Drawer )
Most campaign chests were made from the mid-19th century and had brass straps and corners. They could also break up into two and had removable feet. However, you might confuse them with other furniture pieces made around that time to ape campaign furniture. There would be brass caps on the legs for open campaign chests, hinges at random places, and bolts behind the arms. It is good to check and investigate any unusual features that could indicate the chest was made to be dismantled.
3. Ascertain the Age of the Campaign Chest
(Above photo - Campaign desk )
Most of the campaign furniture made up to the mid-19th century had similar features for domestic purposes. So, dating should be any different. However, from that time onwards, campaign furniture became distinctive as it required to be easily dismantled. Regardless of the designer or furniture maker, the pieces are likely to have similar features. From 1840, the chests had handles with a rectangular bale and backplate. Towards the end of the 19th century, the chest handles had rounded bale points and backplate.
4. The Maker's Label
(Above photo - Campaign chest of drawrs desk )
More often than not, the makers of campaign chests left their labels on the furniture pieces. So make sure to check for the label and determine whether or not the maker is known for producing quality products. Also, the owner might have left a mark, enabling you to trace the history of that particular piece of furniture.
5. The Country of Origin
Given that the British predominantly used campaign chests, they are likely to have been made in Britain, its colonies, Ireland, or in China. By researching and studying cabinetmaking, you will get a lot of information to use when identifying a campaign chest of drawers. For example, English-made chests are likely to be of better quality and without handles to the sides. On the other hand, Indian or Chinese made furniture could feature a more inferior quality in terms of artistry.
Buying a campaign chest of drawers is a good investment if you know what you want. So check the age, makers' label, country of origin, and i
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