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Retro Sunday: Men Of The Royal Lancaster Regiment Making Their Own Campaign Furniture.

Pioneers of the King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, with their campaign furniture, 1808

Excerpted from British Campaign Furniture. Elegance under Canvas, 1740-1914, Nicholas
A. Brawer

Photo: Pioneers of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, with their campaign furniture, 1898. Black and white photograph reproduced in The Army and Navy Illustrated, May 28, 1898, p. 237. 2

This fascinating image shows men of the Royal Lancaster Regiment making their own campaign furniture. Of particular interest are the two campaign chests on the far left and far right of the picture.

From the Georgian through the Edwardian periods, gentlemen-officers lavished time and money on both their full dress uniforms and their campaign furniture. In 1813, Charles James, author of The Regimental Companion, wrote, “It is expected from the soldier, that his arms and accoutrements [including furniture] are at all times in the highest order, that they be not only clean but highly polished.” Officers were expected to outfit themselves in style.

The vast majority of campaign furniture was purchased privately. Desks, chairs, beds, game tables, and other luxuries of travel were manufactured for any person of means-civilian, naval, or military-who had need of it while traveling. Few, if any, of these pieces were supplied by the British Board of Ordnance; these rarities would have been marked with the initials BO or (after 1856) WD, for War Department, and accompanied by the Broad Arrow stamp.

Occasionally the army recommended certain models and manufacturers of campaign furniture, as it did in The Report of the Kabul Committee on Equipment (Calcutta, 1882; p.22):

.. the committee now considers the question of camp furniture for officers. The majority of the committee consider it to be necessary for the comfort of an officer, that be should bave a bed, and they find that the pattern… made by Ro of Dublin is the most suitable. It weighs under 20 Ibs…. They also consider that each officer should have a chair, and they recommend the pattern shown in the sketch… which weighs 3 ls…. They also consider a table … for each officer is necessary. These for all officers should be of one uniform size and pattern, viz. 24″ x 18″ x 30″. Trestle legs, joined by a cross bar which is connected by a leather thong to a D riveted in centre of table. These tables being joined together make an excellent mess table….

Brass-bound military chests were among the most popular pieces of campaign furniture for both colonists and military officers in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These chests, which were often contained within their own wooden packing cases, split into two sections of equal size for ease of storage and transportation. For example, the two halves of a chest formed a balanced load when hung over a mule’s back . Campaign furniture strapped to a pack horse’s back. c. 1853-6They were used both on the outward sea voyage, forming a necessary part of the traveler’s cabin furniture, as well as on land upon arrival, where they served as a chest of drawers in a tent or bungalow.

Campaign furniture strapped to a pack horse's back. c. 1853-6

Examples of a mid-Victorian campaign chests at Garden Court Antiques.

Handsome Mahogany Campaign Chest On Chest, Circa 1850.
Handsome Mahogany Campaign Chest On Chest, Circa 1850.
  1. Handsome Mahogany Campaign Chest On Chest, Circa 1850
  2. Handsome Mahogany Campaign Chest On Chest, English Circa 1850.


Further readings and sources:

  1. British Campaign Furniture. Elegance under Canvas, 1740-1914, Nicholas
    A. Brawer,
    ©2001 P. 59-60 & P. 182 See:
  2. Navy and Army Illustrated: bound copies Date: Mar 1898 – Sep 1898 Reference: RAMC/2093/4 Part of: Royal Army Medical Corps Muniments Collection, May 28, 1898, P. 237.
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New Arrivals: A Closer Look with Jim Gallagher

Jim Gallagher, Garden Court Antiques

We sat down with Jim Gallagher, owner of Garden Court Antiques in San Francisco, for an overview of the new shipment, which just landed and is now in the gallery. Jim notes a shift in preference from larger, oversized items to smaller, distinctive pieces that blend into and enhance contemporary living spaces.

Interviewer: Jim, could you share some highlights from your recent shipment?

Jim Gallagher: Overall, I adopted a different approach this time. Generally, we aim to source pieces that are immediately striking and evoke a moment of awe. However, based on last year’s sales, I noticed a shift in how people use antiques. Larger items have become more challenging to sell, while there’s a growing preference for smaller pieces that add depth and ‘soul’ to a room. These work well with contemporary designs and light, airy spaces, which contrast the often darker Victorian interiors.

People seem to appreciate having unique pieces that enhance the character of their spaces—pieces that can’t be found just anywhere. It’s about the uniqueness and personal connection to the item. So, this time, I focused on acquiring smaller, versatile items like side tables from various periods and regions—Anglo-Indian, French, and Italian, spanning the 17th to 19th centuries. Their color, style, and exceptional construction are not just beautiful but captivating, offering that moment of awe. We still have larger pieces like farm tables, but these smaller items seem to really stand out.

Interviewer: Are there some specific pieces that caught your eye?

Jim Gallagher: Yes. Among the standout items is a late 19th-century English fireplace shield made of copper and steel. It was designed to sit in front of a small fireplace when not in use, so you’re not looking into an unsightly, empty hearth. But beyond its practical use, it’s a stunning art piece. The copper features a peacock design, making it a remarkable example of late 19th-century English folk art. It’s quite manageable in size, perfect for a tabletop display.

Interviewer: That’s great. What’s next?

Jim Gallagher: This is another unique piece. It’s an Edwardian stool, not particularly old or historically significant, but striking nonetheless. It features gorgeous aged green leather with brass nailhead trim and a touch of mahogany at the base— just a fun, wonderful piece you won’t find in anybody’s house. You can’t get leather to do that today. It takes 100 years.

Interviewer: What about the larger pieces in this collection?

Jim Gallagher: One of the magical aspects of sourcing antiques is the connections you make with people in Europe. A good friend, Peter Collingridge, who has a shop in Stow-on-the-Wold, called me about six months ago. He had a piece that wasn’t right for him, but he thought it might suit me. It turned out to be this spectacular Spanish trestle table, nearly 400 years old, previously in a private collection in England for the last 50 years. Its top is made from a single plank of walnut, about 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. It’s a rare find, especially in such original condition. This is certainly a more impressive piece and was a moment of awe.

Additionally, we have a pair of Italian walnut demilune tables that are as functional as they are beautiful. Originating most likely from a monastery, these tables can be used together as a center table or separately as console tables, adorned with baroque elements and harp-shaped bases.

Interviewer: Excellent, let’s continue.

Jim Gallagher: This piece here is a lovely small French occasional table made of beautiful fruitwood. It’s wonderfully shaped with a quirky shelf, and the drawer passes through to both sides—ideal for discreet transactions. It’s not something you’ll find at mainstream stores; it’s truly unique. And for a touch of whimsy, we have an Omersa leather bulldog footstool from the mid-20th century. This fun piece is a conversation starter and showcases bespoke British design.

Interviewer: That’s wonderful.

Jim Gallagher: And who does chic better than the French? We have French cocktail tables from the 1930s and 1940s, fabulous with brass and antique mirror shelves. They are truly one-of-a-kind, adding a touch of something elegant and old to your house.

Interviewer: That’s perfect, thank you.

We hope this collection is a source of inspiration for designers and collectors; each piece has a story to tell.

Visit us at Garden Court Antiques, 1700 16th Street, in the SOMA design neighborhood. We would love to show you around. ^jh

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Which George is Georgian?

Georgian Walnut Chest of Drawers circa 1720

Georgian Furniture refers to furniture made in England during the time of King George, right? Well, yes and no. You see, there have been six King Georges so far. There reigns span from 1714 to 1952. So, in the world of antiques when we talk about Georgian furniture we need to be more specific about which George or Georges we are referring to.

George I
George I

George II
George II

George III
George III

Period Georgian furniture refers to furniture made during the time of George I, George II and George III. This would be from 1714 to 1820. There are many pieces of furniture that are made in the style of Georgian furniture at some later date, but this would not be called period furniture because obviously it was not made during that period.

Given that this period of furniture spanned a century, you can imagine that there were a number of furniture designers and cabinet makers that left their mark on the look and materials used in making Georgian furniture. Some the more memorable designers were Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Robert Adam. While all of these styles of English furniture can be identified by these names, they are all considered forms of Georgian furniture.

 Georgian Walnut Chest of Drawers circa 1720
Georgian Walnut Chest of Drawers circa 1720

Some of the defining elements of Georgian furniture would be the use of walnut and mahogany veneers. The neoclassical elements that Adams brought into his furniture design was influenced by his study of ancient architecture in Italy. Adams visited the ruins of Pompeii after the extensive uncovering of the ancient city in 1748. He was inspired by the fluted columns and dental mouldings that he saw there and incorporated them into his furniture. His work in interiors and furniture making inspired the Neoclassical movement in English furniture making.

The furniture made in England during the Georgian period had a huge impact furniture and architecture in the furniture made in Virginia and New England during that period. It’s influences can still be seen in contemporary furniture, architecture and interior design throughout the world today.

 Georgian Mahogany Game Table, English Circa 1780
Georgian Mahogany Game Table, English Circa 1780

Georgian Mahogany Armchair with drop seat
Georgian Mahogany Armchair with drop seat

 Georgian Fruitwood Corner Chair with drop seat
Georgian Fruitwood Corner Chair with drop seat