Maker: Ross & Co.
Subcategory: Campaign Chests
Made of solid walnut this secretaire campaign chest stands out for its shelving superstructure. Although the design is known, this type of chest with built in folding shelves is rare. This structure is made of a panelled board hinged to the top back edge of the chest. When lifted the two hinged shelves are fitted in place with brass standards to separate and support them. Originally, the back board would have had a removable decorative cresting rail sat on top but this has been lost with time. The chest has a secretaire to the middle drawer which is fitted with two pigeon holes, three short and one long drawer, all veneered in maple. The writing surface is gilt tooled red leather. There are also hidden drawers above the pigeon holes. The secretaire drawer has a stronger patent lock marked VR for Victoria Regina of a type we have not seen on a Ross piece before.
The maker's hand engraved ivory label is to the top edge of this drawer and gives the address of 9,10 & 11 Ellis's Quay, Dublin. It is interesting to note that the sides of the chest are constructed out of three boards, cut on the angle. This was to prevent warping which was more likely if just one board was used. The boards are not equal sizes and no doubt when first made their variation in colour was not so noticeable as to make them standout. The drawers are lined in mahogany, as opposed to ash or pine and have cedar bottoms. The address dates the chest from 1860 to 1864.
Full size is given.