A small, mahogany Campaign Bookcase with pine secondary wood.
The unusual design of this Bookcase is indicative of its age and gives the clues that it was intended for travel. Although the gilt brass handles to the sides are an indicator of its purpose, they alone do not prove it was made to be portable. The first thing that stands out about this bookcase is the position of the lock to the panelled door. It is set to the middle of the top edge of the door to bolt against the underside of the bookcase’s top. This is very unusual and by itself would make the lock weaker than setting it in the standard position of halfway up the side edge. To counter this weakness and make the fixing of the door much stronger than a domestic piece, two bolts are fitted from the underside of the plinth base, through brass lined holes, up into the bottom edge of the door. Further strength is taken from the two protruding tenons to the top side edges of the cupboard interior that fit to mortice holes to the back of the door.
The other indicators are in the construction, which is stronger than for a domestic piece – the mouldings are cut from the top board rather than applied and are made to fit over the side boards. The plinth base is made of faced with mahogany to also add strength.
The small size of the Bookcase could also be read as to its suitability for travel. It also makes it a useful piece for modern use. The interior has two shelves, with a moulded front edge, adjustable to 10 different positions. Their sawtooth side supports have a mould cut to their front edges, which is a good sign of the extra work put in by the cabinet maker.
This is a lovely piece of campaign furniture, and although at first it is not obvious it was made for travel the signs it gives reveals its true purpose. Circa 1770.
The chair is sold separately.