Chris Schwarz's Blog

Campaign Furniture in Charleston, S.C.

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Charleston, S.C., has always been an excellent place to study British furniture for a lot less money than a plane ticket to Heathrow. Today I spent a few hours stomping up and down King Street recording some very rare and nice examples of campaign furniture.

The first stop was Golden & Associates Antiques. Andy Golden’s collection of pieces overall is incredible, but two of the things he personally favors are miniatures and military furniture.

Two of the campaign pieces he has in stock caught my eye.

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The first is a trunk that is finger-jointed and made using quartersawn oak. What is particularly interesting is that the brasses suggest the trunk was made outside of England, such as in India or China. But it’s a bit unusual to see those pieces made in oak. They would usually be made in camphor or something else indigenous to the area.

The finger joints are also a bit unusual for a campaign piece.

The other piece was a small oak box. While the box was nice, what I really like are the small pulls. The round pulls look like a typical ring pull but have no moving parts. You just put your finger into the hole and grasp its brass lip. I have not seen these for sale in any modern catalog, which is too bad. They are simple and clever.

Down the street at Tucker Payne Antiques was a trunk that was unusual because of its size – it’s about one-third bigger than typical campaign trunks. The trunk looks like it is made of teak, and the brasses suggest it was made in China or India because they are nailed on instead of screwed.

And finally at David Skinner Antiques were a bunch of campaign chests – Skinner loves campaign pieces and has a warehouse full of the stuff.

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I came to Skinner’s to see his very rare case for a military chest. During the 19th century, these were sold separately in a variety of sizes to protect your campaign chest during a journey. When you got to your destination you removed the campaign chest and used the case as a wardrobe. Many of these cases were oak and painted. This one was made from an exotic wood, dovetailed (with half-blind mitered dovetails) and given the full brass treatment.

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Even the back was nice – a frame-and-panel job.

This piece is on my to-build list. I just have to convince someone to make me some of these hinges.

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Also of note at Skinner was a nice walnut campaign chest (walnut ones are pretty rare to find in the wild), that had every screw perfectly clocked. (See, I’m not alone in my craziness.)

— Christopher Schwarz

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P.S. The other highlight of the day was this: fried chicken from Leon’s.

4 thoughts on “Campaign Furniture in Charleston, S.C.

  1. amoscalie

    You are definitely not alone in your craziness, I also clock my screws. I even clock them when I put in electrical switch and outlet plates, plus my wife will go behind me and check to make sure they are clocked. I think that I created a monster.

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