A mahogany Campaign Chest by J & W Lowndes.
The two-part chest has an incised moulding line around each drawer and flush brass campaign handles. All the screws to the handles are lined up horizontally, which is a sign of the attention to detail and quality. The drawer linings are also mahogany and made with fine dovetails. The two parts of the chest locate to each other by two lugs, each fitted to the centre at the side. There are also two holes for short bolts to give the parts a firm fixing. The edges of the chest are very slightly rounded and there is no strapwork used, which ties in with its earlier date.
Every drawer has two stencils to the interior bottom and the back board noting 'J & W Lowndes, 18 Haymarket'. These are all features that we have seen to another Lowndes chest which would suggest they are typical. The top right hand drawer has a Chubb lock, which is stronger than those used on the other drawers. Its serial number 118152 dates it to around 1840. James and William Lowndes were one of the earlier makers of campaign furniture and pieces by them do not come on the market often. They were at Haymarket from 1797 with a saddlery business taking over number 18 by 1851. Circa 1840.
Lowndes described themselves as having a Military and Camp Equipage Warehouse, selling canteens, trunks etc. for wholesale, retail and for exportation. They also performed funerals, which wasn't uncommon for cabinet makers.
The trade directories of the period list two companies, J & W Lowndes at 18 Haymarket and W & J Lowndes & Co. at 7 Watling Street.
The initials in both companies are for James and William and it is probable that they are one in the same. J & W are first noted in 1790 and are always listed under trunk makers and bed and mattress makers at 18 Haymarket. W & J are listed in 1815 as muslin manufactures at 35 Foster Lane, Cheapside and then later as warehousemen at 7 Watling Street. As both businesses seem to have ended around 1850 it is probable that it was all one business. I.J. Lowndes, presumably another family member, is also noted on their letterhead as supplying saddlery and harness. .