John Disney's Chair

John Disney's Chair


This chair is very interesting as it shows a side of the furniture used by the military that is not normally considered.

That is to say locally made furniture adopted by the army on site. As the bold brass plaque notes this chair was taken by John Disney of the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment from a Farmhouse near Ermelo in 1901. Disney was obviously very fond of the chair to go to the trouble of taking it with him and getting a plaque to commemorate the fact. Its made of stinkwood and the latticed rawhide thongs are known as a riempie seat. The chair has square tapered legs with scratch decoration and protruding tops to the front legs which along with the use of stinkwood and the rawhide thongs are typical of the Cape of Good Hope. The Regency look to the chair shows the change of influence on Cape furniture after the 2nd British occupation of 1806. The kick to the base of the back is worthy of note and is unusual to find on a chair with such a straight back and leg and is perhaps a concession to decoration without over complicating the design.

The Essex Regiment served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902 and was awarded honours for its part in the Relief of Kimberley and Paardenberg. J.H. Disney became a Captain on the 11th of November 1905 and so was presumably a Lieutenant at the time he took the chair. Ermelo is in the Eastern Transvaal and was Boer country up to 1899. Although of different design this chair is worth comparing with the one armed Cape Officer's Mess Chair discussed in 'At Ease Gentlemen'. Mid 19th century.


Height 85.5 cm / 33 34"
Width 49 cm / 19 12"
Depth 46 cm / 18 14"

Boer War


Circa 1899


South Africa


John Disney Essex Regt.

Essential Baggage