Discover antique campaign furniture

Explore the fascinating realm of Colonial campaign furniture and discover how to introduce handcrafted antiques into your home

Campaign furniture is back in fashion. Repro campaign chests with brass handles grace the window displays of Ralph Lauren, while new, cutting-edge designs (such as those by British designer Alex Hellum) are inspired by the nifty techniques of original campaign pieces.

From folding candlesticks to pop-up tables, explore the fascinating realm of campaign furniture and discover how to introduce handcrafted antiques into your home with these eight decorating tips. 

1. An explorer’s essential kit: binoculars (complete with handsome leather case), map, compass, telescope, candlestick and magnifying glass  

 

Mauritius’ wallpaper in ‘Red/Antique’, £60 per roll, Sanderson. Map of Eritrea and Abyssinia print by Domenico Locchi from ‘The British Library’ collection, from £80, Surface View. Binoculars (1920s) in leather case, £165; Victorian brass telescope, £120; folding ivory ruler, £35; compass, £145, all The Dorking Desk Shop. Early 20th-century pressed brass Brighton bun travel candlestick, £165 for a pair; Lord Roberts of Kandahar handkerchief, £135, both Christopher Clarke Antiques. Magnifying glass, £45; antique books from a selection, £6 each, Packhouse. 

 

2. Inspired by the interior of an army captain’s tent, the Victorian campaign desk is key to the look. A display cabinet can be filled with eclectic treasures both old and new brought back from trips abroad. Incorporate botanical prints and large potted palms to add to the colonial vibe, tying the room together with an antique Persian rug for colour and pattern 

 

Victorian mahogany campaign desk, £1,900, The Dorking Desk Company. On desk: Victorian brass sextant in mahogany box, £575, The Dorking Desk Company; egg timer, £35; books, from a selection; magnifying glass, £45, all Packhouse; small hand-held brass sextant, £275, The Dorking Desk Company; large king palm print, £485, India Jane; framed watercolour of grenadier guard, c1900, £120, Christopher Clarke Antiques; 1930s Philips terrestrial globe, £295, The Dorking Desk Company; ‘Organic Ticking Night’ notebook, £9.50, Ian Mankin; 19th-century brass monocular in a card case, £245; early 20th-century pressed brass Brighton bun travel candlestick, £165 for a pair, both Christopher Clarke Antiques; ‘Antler Rustic’ small lamp base, £144; ‘Zuton’ silk shade in ‘Taupe’, £41.50, both David Hunt Lighting; ‘Burton Tan’ leather pen pot, £49, India Jane. Palms, from a selection, Ikea. Wood and canvas folding chair, £22, eBay. On chair: Lord Roberts of Kandahar handkerchief, £135, Christopher Clarke Antiques; Turkish kilim cushion cover, £25, Yashar Bish; safari canvas and leather camera bag, £95, The Safari Store. Dutch antique display cabinet, £850, Sunbury Antiques Market. In cabinet: General Sir Gatacre jug, c1900, £85, Christopher Clarke Antiques. Antique Persian Bakhtiar rug, c1900, £750, London House Rugs. 

 

3. An antique globe is a must-have accessory for any campaign-style study. Here it sets the scene alongside a collection of antique books and prints 

Large king palm print, £485, India Jane. Books, from a selection, Packhouse. Framed watercolour of grenadier guard, c1900, £120, Christopher Clarke Antiques. Small hand-held brass sextant, £275; 1930s Philips terrestrial globe, £295, both The Dorking Desk Company. Magnifying glass, £45, Packhouse. 

 

4. A hardwood bowl is not only decorative but practical too. It rests on a vintage steamer trunk, which makes a convenient coffee table while doubling as extra storage 

Antique Turkoman rug, c1880, £1,850, London House Rugs. Vintage rug, £125, Packhouse. Vintage steamer trunk, £300; hardwood fruit bowl, £55, both Raj Tent Club. Antique-style compass, £19.95, Rockett St George. Throws, from a selection, Rebecca’s Aix Home.

5. The mix of patterns softens the dark wood furniture. Team Turkish carpet cushions with stripes and faded florals for an elegant and relaxed feel 

Walls papered in ‘Mauritius’ wallpaper in ‘Red/Antique’, £60 per roll, Sanderson. Curtains made from natural muslin, £1.99 per m, Fabric Land. ‘Keraton’ carved medium day bed, £1,475, Lombok. On day bed: vintage wool prayer mat from Kashmir, from a selection, Raj Tent Club; cushions (left to right): white and grey print, £38, Graham & Green; Turkish carpet cushions, from £55, both Yashar Bish; cover made in ‘Mauritius’ fabric in ‘Red/Antique’, £54 per m, Sanderson; ‘Harbour Stripe’ in ‘Graphite & Ecru’, £64.95, Tori Murphy. ‘Baveystock’ folding chair, £850, Christopher Clarke Antiques. ‘Heraldic’ campaign side table, £179, India Jane. On table: ‘Hanno Elephant’ tealight holder, £25, India Jane; antique-style compass, £19.95, Rockett St George; glass tealight holder, £14, eBay; cocktail glass, £39, English Antique Glass. Vintage steamer trunk, £300, Raj Tent Club. On trunk: leather tray, £129, Pampeano; hardwood fruit bowl, £55, Raj Tent Club; 1920s binoculars with leather case, £165, The Dorking Desk Company; ‘Palm Tree’ plant pot, £29.50, India Jane; large leather lantern, £275, Oka. Wood and leather safari chair, £195, Rockett St George. On chair: throw, £24, Rockett St George; ‘Safari’ cushion, £28, Global Love by Laula via Etsy. Antique Turkoman rug, c1880, £1,850, London House Rugs. Plant and palms, from a selection, Ikea. 

 

6. Embrace the romance of campaign style with a scrolling brass bed dressed with Egyptian cotton bed linen and vintage throws

 

French Louis Philippe steel campaign bed with canopy, c1860, £3,000, Guinevere. On bed: ‘Angslilja’ king-size duvet cover and four pillowcases, £29, Ikea; Egyptian cotton ‘Elysium’ pillowcases, £110 for a pair, Oka; pink and black floral cushion, £45, Packhouse; ‘Aubrey’ yellow and black floral cushion, £135, India Jane; Indian kantha yellow cushion cover, £45, Rebecca’s Aix Home; floral cushion cover (at front), made from ‘Tournier’ fabric, £56 per m; floral cushion cover (at back), made in ‘Mauritius’ fabric, £54 per m, both Sanderson; vintage kantha quilt, £120, Rebecca’s Aix Home; vintage eiderdown, £90, Packhouse; kantha stitch bedspread with embroidered red flowers, £450, Raj Tent Club. ‘Efflorescent’ canvas from ‘Sir John Soane’s Museum’ collection, from £190, Surface View. Small ash and oak brass bound campaign chest, £3,450; leather mule trunk, £520, both Christopher Clarke Antiques. On chest: elephant lamp base, £95, India Jane; oval silk ‘Lexington’ lampshade in ‘Taupe’, £75.60, David Hunt Lighting; ‘Karim’ camel, £125, Steiff; General French jug, c1900, £85, Christopher Clarke Antiques; wooden nesting bowl, £39.99 for two, Lakeland; binoculars with leather case, £165, The Dorking Desk Shop. Curtain made with natural muslin, £1.99 per m, Fabric Land. Antique Balouch rug (underneath), £850, London House Rugs. Vintage rug (on top), £125, Packhouse.

 

7.  Create your own washstand in a light-filled corner of your bedroom using a simple fold-away campaign table 

 

Canvas and leather washbag, £79.90, The Safari Store. Thornhill oak briefcase table, £1,650; campaign mirror, £145, both Christopher Clarke Antiques. WWII shaving kit, £70, Grannies Loft. Vintage linen towel, £45; vintage enamel bowl, £10; jug, £18, all Packhouse. Elephant beaker, £9.50, India Jane. Savon soap, £12, French Soaps. 

 

8.  This campaign table with lift-off top (for storing the table legs) makes a wonderful outdoor bar. Style it with a collection of antique and vintage glasses and leather barware 

Georgian campaign mahogany table, £950, Christopher Clarke Antiques. Betjemann tantalus, £415, The Dorking Desk Shop. Etched vintage glasses, £10 each, Packhouse. Antique wine glasses, £39 each, English Antique Glass. ‘Palm Tree’ napkin, £20 for four, Raj Tent Club. Drew flask in leather case, c1900, £375; flask with telescopic cup, £210, both Christopher Clarke Antiques. Leather ice bucket, £135, Pampeano. Hayman’s gin, £20 per 70cl, both Waitrose. Early 20th-century metal cased bottle, £75, Christopher Clarke Antiques. Wooden board, £14.99, Lakeland.  

9.  While away a summer’s afternoon with a makeshift awning created simply using natural linen fabric, hazel poles and rope. A folding campaign chair makes an ideal picnic companion 

Tent made with 6ft hazel poles, £1.50 each, Bean Pole Supply Company; ‘Helena’ fabric, £29 per m, Sanderson. Moroccan wedding blanket, £150, Etsy.Map cushions, from £24.99, WeLoveCushions. Antique Persian Bakhtiar rug, c1900, £750, London House Rugs. Sirrum & Primus picnic set (including basket, wicker bottle, stove and kettle), £390, Christopher Clarke Antiques. Ceramic mugs, £16 each, Plum & Ashby. Inside tent: iron and canvas stool, £78, Graham & Green; hat, stylist’s own; vintage rugs, both £125, Packhouse; cushion cover in ‘Mauritius’ fabric in ‘Red/Antique’, £54 per m, Sanderson; striped cushion cover, £22.99, Wayfair; ‘Epirus’ blue cushion cover, £138, Oka; white and grey cushion, £38, Graham and Green; metal trunk, £70, Packhouse; chevron throw, £24, Rockett St George; brass lantern, £68.99, Wayfair. Black lantern, £12, eBay. Deckchair, £425, Burford Garden Company. On deckchair: map cushion, £28, Global Love by Laula via Etsy. Woven box, £15, Packhouse. Striped ‘Naturalmat’, from £99, Bell Tent UK. 

The full feature on decorating with campaign furniture appeared in the August 2017 issue of Homes & Antiques. Back issues are still available. To purchase a copy click here.

Photographs: Katya De Grunwald
Twitter/Instagram: @katyadegrunwald 

Styling: Selina Lake

 

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