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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Officer and a Gentleman

             Burr Walnut Campaign Writing Slope Circa 1850

As it’s name suggests; The Campaign Writing  Slope was designed for Gentleman Officers away on campaign during the reign of Queen Victoria, and her predecessors,  affording them a secure place for letters, documents and writing instruments, and a platform to write messages and letters to other Officers in the field and to loved ones back home.

Campaign slopes and other campaign furniture can sometimes be identified by the brass corners and banding that gave added protection during travel, and for their design in being dismantled quickly when on the move.

The intent of the furniture was so that the Gentlemen Officers could enjoy similar comfort to that at home whist away in Foreign Lands of The Empire!

This example of a Campaign Writing Slope which is in good honest condition showing only marks of time being some 160 years old, and was made in England in about 1850.

Due to it’s age it has some tarnishing of the brass and some slight repair has been made at some time to some banding; however appears quite original.

The Burr Walnut veneer remains complete and original with a nice patina, showing only marks and wear commensurate with it’s age.

The base of the slope has received  a black baize replacement which is in good condition.

Once inside the slope, there is a lockable area with a secret compartment which is released by lifting one edge of the right hand side inkwell walls revealing two secret drawers, ideal for small desk items and valuables.

The slope also has a removable pen rest where pens and nibs could be stored beneath, and a sloped area for stamps together two inkwell compartments at either corner which is complete with two original antique Mosleys Revolving inkwells.

The inkwells are in very good condition and are from the same period in square cut glass with a Crown insignia on the brass screw caps which still have an early rubber seal inside of the caps, albeit  they have some wear and ink residue from their previous use.

The lower half of the slope reveals an insecure area for storing writing paper etc, and the writing area itself displays a beautiful  replacement skiver in Black Leather, with gold tooling around the edge.

Both locks are in working order with keys, with the main lock having been recently serviced by Bramah Locksmiths of London.

Bramah were first given their Patent on 21st August 1784 and were sited at Denmark Street in St. Giles London and are still in operation to this day.

Interestingly; during the service of the Bramah lock, the company identified that it was in fact a copy version of their lock which was fitted to furniture following the locks patent ending in 1815.

I was advised that during the period that followed it was a common practice for these locks to be used, and that they were of such a high quality, Bramah continued to repair and service them and were happy to do so on this occasion. 

So the pirating of goods it appears is not a modern practice!

Well I hope you have enjoyed my little insight into a Victorian Campaign Writing Slope which has now been SOLD and gone to a new home in The USA.

Ken McLeod © 2011

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