George III Sea Captains Campaign Chest, Lectern and Writing Slope in Mahogany, Brass Banded & Reinforced Fully Fitted
This is a George III (1738 - 1820) Sea Captains campaign chest, lectern and writing slope. It is a rare find, as it has the original hold down screws with a special three corner key used to attached the box to the captains desk or table. The box is dated to c. 1790-1810.
The box is filled with treasures and secret drawers that are most difficult to find (but we include photo details for you). This is a second box purchased from one of the most respected box dealers in the U.K. We've purchased boxes from him for nearly ten years. He considers this one of the best boxes that he's ever made available to buyers. We got to his stall at the right time, since after we left, another buyer purchased about 15 of his boxes.
Now, to the Sea Captains box.
We've included labeled photos to point out the various features of the Ship Captains writing chest.
Firstly, the Sea Captains box can serve as a lectern. As a lectern, a book can be rested on the the book rest and the lid can lifted as various angles for reading. The box is also a campaign chest. The box is bound and reinforced with brass to endure the rigors of sea travel. As a campaign chest, the Captain can read at night with the candles placed on the sconces. The chest contains compartments for the storage of various writing materials, including the ship captains log and journal. This type of box is also called a writing slope as it provides the captain with a very large surface on which notes and letters can be written.
The Sea Captains writing chest measures 18 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 6 3/4 inches high.
The writing chest is fully fitting and includes the following elements:
1. Lock and key, not only to open and lock the captains campaign chest, but to lock the top fall of writing surface. 2. Hold down screws with the three corner key enabling the box to be secured by attaching it to the captains desk or table. With the unsteady movement of water at sea, this is a very important function of the box. 3. Two ink bottles with silver plate lids. 4. Criss cross tapes to the rear of the lower fall to hold papers and envelopes. 5. A wood book rest which is safely stored and attached to the box in the space under the lower fall. 6. Three secret drawers. These drawers are difficult to locate. We've included a marked up photo to show how to release the three drawers from their hiding place. If you stand facing the front of the desk and go to the inner right edge at the front, this compartment is lined with another piece of thin wood which is not glued. If you slide that up and remove it you will see a small hole is revealed about one eight of an inch in diameter. Now remove the brass locking pin from the drawer and push it into the hole which will trigger the release mechanism to expose the secret drawers. 7. A full length side drawer with a brass lock pin. This is a large space and can hold a lot of materials. 8. Candle sconces with candles. The sconces and candles are stored in two compartments in the front end of the full length drawer, as seen in the photo.
The falls have been recovered with a fine quality green baize ((coarse, felt like, woolen material used to cover wood). Traditionally, the color of the baize used on slopes is green.
Without a doubt this is a classic and beautiful George III writing chest. All parts of the chest are included and all are in good working order.
And to further add to the authenticity of the box, the details of box maker in the form of stickers are included on the underside of each fall. This ship captains writing chest was manufactured by Nicholas William Middleton between 1801 and 1810, at 162 Strand, London. Middleton's business was established in 1748.