Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

More glamping and campaign furniture

Sporting_Accessories_Product_Categories_J_and_R_Guram_-_2018-02-11_19.45.32The sun may never set on the British Empire in  my mind: especially since deep down I am a Victorian-Edwardian Gent at heart. Not to mention I did get some to the tag ends of the empire growing up.

Anyway, I came upon a purveyor of campaign furniture whilst looking for shooting accessoriesSporting_Accessories_Product_Categories_J_and_R_Guram_-_2018-02-11_19.45.59 (read cheap gun oil bottles of the type a period gent would have had stashed in his shotgun case for those driven shoots for his servant to keep his bespoke shotguns in proper order). Even better the merchant is in Inja and has all the goodies an Empire builder would desire.

Who cares about the guns: he’s got Safari Equipment! While the campaign furniture selection isn’t as extensive as I might like, they do have quite a few nice things to keep the tent from looking too much like one shops at a surplus store.
Ok, I need to add a screen cap of the Campaign Furniture section to show it’s pretty good, but not as good as it probably would have been during the good old days of Empire.  The time when someone couldn’t go abroad, or to battle without taking all the comforts of home: literally.

While not in the heart of Piccadilly or St. James, J & R Guram can be found on the web at:

Check out their favourite links while you are there for the best of Empire and creative anachronism.

I leave you with this image:


Glamping is not a new phenomenon.

OK, I love camping and being in the outdoors, but I prefer to not really rough it.  I liked the catered Milford Track as opposed to the “non-catered crowd” who had cold showers and had to carry all their gear.  The catered option only needed to carry a change or two of clothes since everything else was provided.

I would rather kayak, canoe, bike, or something else where I can carry enough gear to be comfy on the trail. Or else have someone else provide it me.  I’d rather hike from Auberge to Auberge than do the full scale Appalachian Trail. This is my idea of camping.

And so did my ancestors (well, not Nathaniel Pryor and Charles Floyd), as the collectionstop10_02-3study of campaign furniture shows.  Campaign furniture is a type of furniture made for travel. Historically, much of it was made for military campaigns.  While the most famous examples are usually British, there are more than enough non-British examples.  US Generals (e.g., Washington) and other officers carried this type of gear while on campaign. Here is an example of North American campaign furniture from the French and Indian War.

This picture is of George Washington’s travel bed.  There are similar examples at Valley Forge and Morristown used by other officers.  A search on campaign furniture provides all sorts of interesting examples of early glamping where the officers’ carried enough of the comforts of home to make war a little less of a hell.

I just learned that the centrepiece of the Museum of the American Revolution which will be opening in Philadelphia on the 19th of this month will be a recreation of Washington’s Marquee tent!

Of course, like most of the more civilised things which passed, this required loads of servants to carry the gear into the back of beyond. Not to mention setting up camp really was setting up camp.

The Boer War in South Africa also was a big game changer since the enemy could move quickly. The mobile units were not quite as mobile as they had thought given the effort that this type of gear takes to transport and then set up. In 1903, the Secretary of State for War, H. O. Arnold-Forster, stated, “The British Army is a social institution prepared for every emergency except that of war.”

The campaign furniture went out for most warfare (Evelyn Waugh makes a comment about a “thunder chest” in one of his books about the Second World War), but it lingered on in the Safari and Imperial set.

I’m not sure campaign furniture has totally become obsolete even now.  Although, you need to go to a reenactor’s supply store if you want some made to the old fashioned standards.  Also, there are things which have modernised the concepts which these items are based upon. The Butterfly and Director’s chair are examples where campaign furniture still lives on.

 Campaign furniture is evocative of luxurious travel and a time gone by. There is more likely to be an owner’s or maker’s name on a piece of portable furniture than a domestic version and it is easier to put it into a social context. The appeal of its nature has been picked up on and modern furniture made in a campaign style is produced by a number of makers today. Often, the consideration of portability has not been a factor with the overriding concern being to achieve the look by adding brass corners and strapwork. Another group of manufactures have produced direct copies of period campaign furniture seeing that there is still a call for it today be it for safaris or the high-class camper.

Good design will always be popular and this, along with many of the original reasons for the popularity of campaign furniture hold true today. It is practical, often versatile and naturally, very easy to move about.

While the average camper may not go to the extremes seen in campaign furniture, the folding chair, table, or camp bed are still with us.

See also:

Nicholas A. Brawer, 2001. British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740 – 1914. ISBN 0-8109-5711-6