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Campaign furniture is portable furniture that was designed for use in military campaigns. Its origins can be traced back to the Romans, but its use peaked during the Georgian and Victorian periods (1714-1901). Designed to be easily transported during military operations, campaign furniture included folding seats, small chests, and case furniture that could be dismantled and carried with ease. Often, it was built in separate parts so as to be more mobile, and the pieces were made of durable woods like mahogany and teak.

Some items of campaign furniture are instantly recognizable because they are made to dismantle or fold. Brass caps to the tops of legs, hinges in unusual places, protruding bolts or X-frame legs all give clues to the functionality of the piece. 

The recessed brass handles and brass angle pieces served an aesthetic function and allowed the furniture to be easily transported with no damage to fragile corners. Elegant, strong, and practical (well, as practical as carting around solid-wood furniture could be), campaign furniture was key to style and comfort while away from England.

The administrators and armies of the British Empire in the Indian subcontinent were perhaps the largest consumer of campaign furniture leading to high quality local manufacturing of durable, practical and elegant ‘knock-down’ chairs, tables, desks, bookcases and beds.

Campaign style furniture is a great grab for furniture artists as it trends in some of the more urban environments and lends itself to the industrial/steampunk vibe we are seeing in some metro areas.

You can get a little bit bold with color but stay masculine with this heavy and functional furniture style. Just be sure to keep that amazing hardware intact in it’s original brass finish. It’s the one true indicator of campaign style furniture!

The next time you spot a piece of campaign furniture at a thrift store or yard sale, grab it right up! It’s trending and sure to grab those top-dollar prices when refinished in the true style of the period!

Happy Painting!