Sit Down and Conquer: Campaign Chairs

It’s funny how sometimes you see something that you like…so you Google it…then you click here and click there and next thing you know you are reading about aristocratic British military officers in the 19th century and where they rested their fannies as they planned their next siege. That’s how it went with my discovery of the campaign chair. It all started with this chair…

Relax Chair in Main Sail “N33″ by Spinnaker. (As seen in Canadian House & Home Magazine, May 2012)

After a little research, I learned…Ever since there have been travelling armies there has been campaign furniture. Also called “knock down” furniture, it was designed to be put together and taken apart easily and hauled – on the march – over long distances. They were often foldable or adjustable with canvas or leather sling type seats on a wooden frame. Campaign chairs were made for high ranking military officers out in the field, accustomed to the good life back home.

The Roorkhee Chair is named after the headquarters of the Indian Army Corps of
Engineers at Roorkhee, United Provinces, India. It was a favourite among British officers from 1898 to WWI.

The Safari Chair, designed in 1933 by Danish designer, Kaare Klint, was inspired by those used by the East India Company during British colonial times.

You’ll probably recognize this campaign chair. It’s one of the most copied designs of all time. The BKF Chair (1938) aka The Hardoy chair designed by Grupo Austral (Antoni Bonet, Juan Kurchan, Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy) is modelled after the Tripolina chair (1877), patented by Joseph Beverly Fenby. Nowadays this chair is typically called a butterfly chair.

Good design, versatility and ease of portability have stood the test of time.

Images: Relax Chair in Main Sail “N33″ by Spinnaker via AllModern. (As seen in Canadian House & Home Magazine, May 2012) / Roorkhee Chair via Christopher Clarke – Dealers in Antiques / Safari Chair – Rud.Radmussen Denmark / Tripolina Chair – Cove Landing via 1stDibs / BKF Chair – Guillem, Cleveland Museum of Art via

Reference Sources: Chairs: A History by Florence de Dampierre / Wikipedia: Campaign Furniture / Knoll Museum / Judith Miller: Campaign Furniture


Meesh xo

10 Responses to Sit Down and Conquer: Campaign Chairs

  1. Such choices…. thank you for for the research. I certainly would have the Safari Chair in my home any time. It look so elegant and timeless.Now i have something else to add to my wish list.

  2. aggghhh that Butterfly chair is amazing!

  3. Love the Safari Chair, and wouldn’t say no to the Roorkhee Chair… and I bet you already guessed, the Butterfly Chair is a fave of mine, especially in leather! Love the interesting history you’ve given us – it’s so much fun to learn about where things come from!!!

  4. Tracey Ayton Photography

    I’m still laughing because I know what you mean by getting side tracked when surfing the net. I love the butterfly chair.

  5. I would love a butterfly chair to curl up in. They are so cozy and comfortable. Thanks for the history lesson.

  6. These are all so great! Definitely in love with the last leather chair :)

  7. I love that I always learn something new from your posts! I love the Safari chair. Great post!

  8. You are so right. Its hard to take a picture you’ve found on the internet and try to match it . Many pictures will take you to false sites that do not tell you how much a certain fabric is or where to purchase that bedding set. Its so frustrating.

  9. What is your favorite take on the Fenby/Tripolina chair you’ve seen sold in the past 10 years?

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