A walnut Secretaire Campaign Chest with book matched veneers to the drawer fronts and straight grain solid walnut to the top and sides.
The chest has a less common drawer configuration with the central secretaire drawer flanked by a pair of short drawers to each side. The secretaire has a gilt tooled, burgundy leather skiver to the writing area with a space to the back of the drawer for papers etc. Above the space is a long drawer fitted with dividers to the right hand side for inkwells and pens etc. To the middle are two short drawers with a pigeon hole to either side. This drawer has a Bramah lock whereas all the others are simply marked Patent. All the locks have raised, round escutcheons.
The drawer linings are ash but the two middle long drawers have figured walnut for their back boards. This is highly unusual and presumably the cabinet maker did it because he didn’t have enough ash.
The top of the chest has a replaced, removable fiddle gallery which is hinged to pack inside a drawer. It also has screw holes to the back suggesting it may have fixed to the bulkhead on board a ship at some time. The name Cunningham is marked in chalk to the back and there is a paper label for Wallace Kink, Norwich & Diss, Removals and Storage and another part label that says Slough.
The chest shows signs of being moved around with a few scars to the sides and top. This is a good-looking campaign chest and of course, walnut is always sought after. The fact that they also used slightly smaller handles for the four smaller drawers also shows good attention to detail. Circa 1875.
The height without the removable fiddle gallery is 40 1/2 inches (103cm)