Eighteenth-century campaign case furniture was normally made in two or more sections for ease of transportation, but for the most part, it was made to the same overall proportions as conventional domestic case furniture with depths ranging from 19″ to 23″. After all, space in a military camp was virtually unlimited and if one’s commodious tent couldn’t accommodate ones’ essentials, then one simply brought along another tent and a pack animal to transport it!
Some situations did necessitate fewer belongings and thus proportionately smaller furniture was made with case depths typically ranging from 16″ to 18″.
Further to A Maritime Bureau?, I thought I would post a few additional examples of maritime case furniture. Case furniture aboard eighteenth-century naval vessels was technically campaign furniture too, but not in the same sense as transportable terrestrial furniture, as once on board, it could remain stationary for years. What defined maritime and terrestrial campaign furniture was the space afforded it. Eighteenth-century ships’ cabins were extremely cramped, necessitating furniture that hugged the walls; thus case depths of just 8″ to 12″ were common (figs. 1, 2 & 3).
One area that can assist in differentiating between regularly dismantled and transported case furniture and that which merely needed to be convenient for occasionally manhandling onto a ship, is the feet. Terrestrial campaign furniture invariably had threaded bun feet that could be unscrewed and safely placed in a drawer while the case sections were packed into their compact transport cases. The majority of maritime furniture on the other hand has fixed feet (figs. 1 & 4).
As can be witnessed with many nineteenth-century examples of maritime furniture, case depths increased with the growth in ships’ tonnage and the enlargement of living quarters. The chest of drawers in fig. 5 belonged to Pownoll Pellew Cotter, master on HMS Terror during the 1840-1843 Ross Antarctic expedition. The chest is of average height and width (38″ tall by 34″ wide) with a depth of 16″.