A figured walnut Campaign Chest with straight grain wood to the top and sides.
Walnut military chests used solid, straight grain timber to the carcase, as veneers were more likely to be damaged as it was slid in and out of its packing cases. The better, book matched veneer figured walnut was used on the drawer fronts as the show timber. What is unusual about this walnut chest, and is also evident on our secretaire by the same maker, is the painted figuring onto the solid walnut edges of the drawer dividers. It would have hardly been noticeable when first done. It is more so now due to the ageing of the wood.
Although there is no maker’s label or mark to this chest, Hill & Millard were known to stamp their locks with their name and this chest is no exception, confirming the attribution. The stronger, top right-hand drawer lock bears their name and address of 7 Duncannon Street, London, W. They were very good makers who went the extra step to ensure the quality of their work. This can be seen with the gilt lacquered, brass strapwork which is oversized to the drawer dividers but cut to their width. Most makers would simply use smaller straps. A single tramline mould has also been cut into the drawer edges. The drawer linings are made of ash and the turned feet are original to the chest.
Walnut campaign chests were the best you could buy when first made and this has held true today. Add to this one of the best Victorian makers of campaign furniture and you have a very good piece of furniture. Circa 1880.