A brass bound, oak Cavalry Chest with secretaire drawer.
For modern use, the Cavalry Chest has probably the most practical design of secretaire. The majority of Victorian campaign chests have a secretaire set at a height to stand at to work. This design of chest has a pull-out drawer to the middle which sits over your legs when sat at. It has a leather writing area to the middle with compartments to either side and a hinged stationery compartment. When stood upright, this compartment also supports the writing area at a comfortable angle to work at. The work surface can also be lifted up from the front to access compartments underneath. Both the compartments have slide covers. The one to the left has a plain interior whilst the one to the right has compartments for ink wells and pens etc. and a secret drawer underneath.
The Cavalry Campaign Chest is most commonly associated with the Army and Navy Store Co-Operative Ltd but other makers, such as Hill & Millard were also known to make the design. This chest has an inset A&N CSL disc to the top right short drawer. The cavalry regiments where thought of as the smartest, hence the chest’s name.
Although the A&N CSL commonly advertised the option of oak for their chests they are less common than those in mahogany and teak, suggesting that demand for the wood at the time was lower. For people using the chest in a foreign climate, this makes perfect sense. Circa 1900.