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W. H. Henslon's Small Chest


Category: Archive

Subcategory: Campaign Chests

We have no history for Henslon but his oak cased chest is a rare survivor of a type not often seen.

The carcass of the chest is made as a packing case in good solid oak with iron strap work to further protect and strengthen it. The practicality for travel was a far greater consideration than its outwardly appearance. However, when the chest door is swung open, it is revealed that far more care is given to the interior. The four drawers are faced in mahogany with gilt brass ring pull handles and small knob handles to the top drawer to allow for the frame of the panelled door. The drawers retain there original blue sugar paper lining and their cloth belts straps, used to hold clothing in place during travel. The top drawer has two dividers instead of straps. The chest sits on sledge feet and has iron carrying handles to the sides. Apart from a two part Secretaire Chest we have not come across any other chests made in this way. Like Aldershot chests, where the packing case forms the chest's cupboard base, this type of chest was probably not considered important on the return home or by later generations. After all, they were fine in a tent but would not be smart enough to use in the house; consequently many would have been discarded or destroyed.

This small chest is a good example of an unusual form of campaign chest and we are lucky that it retains it original fittings. Mid 19th century.

  • Dimensions:
    H 45.5cm x W 64.5cm x D 38.5cm
    H 17.85" x W 25¼" x D 15"

  • Period: Mid 19th century.
  • Medium: Oak & Mahogany
  • Country: England
  • Signed: W. H. Henslon
  • Reference Number: 6332