Chinese Export Antique Campaign Secretaire Chest.

Chinese Export Antique Campaign Secretaire Chest.


This rich, golden camphor wood secretraire campaign chest was made by Chinese cabinet makers for the European or American market.

As can be seen the front half of the top falls forwarded, supported by strong hinges, to give a large sloped writing surface; a design also adopted by the Army & Navy Store. The two velvet sections of the slope lift to give a plain storage area to the lower section and a fitted area to the top. The top section hides a row of pigeon holes with a small lockable cupboard to the centre. Within this cupboard is a drawer. The chest breaks into two halves for travel and the rounded corners are edged in brass, as much for decoration as protection. There are carrying handles to the sides and brass campaign handles to the drawers which are typically Oriental in look. Added to this the drawers have inlaid brass stringing meeting in the corners with a decorative fleur de lys. Some of the drawers are marked with a single Chinese character.

There was a strong industry of export goods for both the West and those Europeans travelling through the East. Canton was a large part of this industry put it also stretched as far as India, the Philippines, Batavia and Japan with Chinese craftsmen moving to these areas to help supply the demand. This campaign chest is a good example of such a piece from the third quarter of the 19th century.

Size closed is given.


Height 100 cm / 39 "
Width 91 cm / 36"
Depth 48.5 cm / 19 14"

Mid to Late 19th Century




Chinese Export

Captain's Kit Bag