Closing of Elegant Design

Elizabeth Prendiville of Saffronart New York covers the results of the popular Elegant Design 24 hour sale.


New York: Tuesday March 25th marked the opening of Elegant Design, Saffronart’s premier vintage interior design sale. The sale was immediately followed by its twin auction, Works on Paper, opening on March 26th. Elegant Design featured 109 important vintage items in interior and decorative art including rugs, silver, and various furniture pieces. Each lot was carefully selected to represent the most pivotal periods in the decorative arts both in India and worldwide. An example of this can be seen in the campaign furniture, depicting the specific needs of the British army in the 18th and 19th century.


Spanning the most pivotal eras in interior design history, each lot also featured a variety of exquisite mediums and materials. The sale featured pieces made from a variety of rare woods such as rosewood, teakwood, mahogany and padauk wood. Graceful, small items such as A Rare Matched Pair of Kutch Silver Tea Cups (Lot 68) and large statement pieces such as An Indian Mother Of Pearl Door (Lot 105) all displayed a variety of excellent aesthetic detail appropriate for any space. Exhibiting equal parts beauty and function, each lot was an exceptional addition for any collection and home.



Due to the wide range of beautiful vintage pieces the sale received extremely positive media coverage from a variety of media publications including Elle India, ArtDaily and DNA India. The top ten valued items from the sale ranged from furniture to silver flatware to lighting fixtures. The highest winning lots included A Magnificent and Rare Art Deco Chandelier (Lot 25) coming in at $18,772 and A Stunning and Highly Important Ebony Sideboard (Lot 33) with a winning value of $9,447. Overall the most popular and sought after items varied greatly in materials, geography and design history. The sale concluded with sixty-six lots sold and a total winning value of $176,469. It is clear from the warm reception and enthusiasm for these beautiful items that vintage design and décor is still a lovely and timeless edition to any buyer’s collection.


To learn more about some of the items featured in Elegant Design visit Campaign Furniture: Historical Function and Design and click here for a full analysis of the overall sale.

Campaign Furniture: Historical Function and Design

Elizabeth Prendiville of Saffronart shares a brief introduction to campaign furniture anticipating the upcoming sale “Elegant Design”.

Upcoming Saffronart Sale "Elegant Design"

Upcoming Saffronart Sale “Elegant Design”


New York: Campaign furniture has a distinct role in history due to its unique blend of beautiful aesthetic and simple usability. Born out of necessity, the construction of these furniture pieces was revolutionary. It can be distinguished by its ability to breakdown and fold into an easy to transport state. This quality is typically constructed with the help of brass hinges or foldable legs and sides, while still maintaining a beautiful and high quality design motif.

A piece from the upcoming Saffronart sale "Elegant Design"

A piece from the upcoming Saffronart sale “Elegant Design”

Historically these pieces were made popular by the British Army in the 18th and 19th century and were typically used by travelers and military officials in the pursuit of colonial efforts. The British Army required pieces that represented the warm luxuries of home, but would not burden or weigh them down while on their campaign. As the call for these “knock-down” styles increased, the finest furniture and luggage makers began to compete over who could make the most opulent pieces while still maintaining a light and malleable design. They ranged from full-scale living furniture to carrying cases for food and toiletry items.

A piece from the upcoming Saffronart sale "Elegant Design"

A piece from the upcoming Saffronart sale “Elegant Design”

This piece of history represents a very distinct time of global expansion including major explorations in the east. “The administrators and armies of the British Empire in the Indian subcontinent were perhaps the largest consumer of campaign furniture leading to high quality local manufacturing of durable, practical and elegant ‘knock-down’ chairs, tables, desks, bookcases and beds” (J and R Guram). Furniture fit for the leaders of the British Army proved to be successful in popular culture and still remains in style today due to its durability and utilitarian beauty. A number of contemporary craftsman still continue this tradition and it is often seen in outdoor furniture, indoor furniture and high end collectible items alike. From an interior design perspective Campaign Furniture offers a balance of graceful antiquity with modern functionality that will continue to be sought after for decades to come. While this design technique began out of necessity, in present day it represents a historical golden age of travel and global expeditions. Campaign furniture will be honored in the upcoming sale “Elegant Design” featuring items such as a desks, tables, luggage and travel accessories. For more information on the sale and the items shown in this article please visit the auction website here.

Elegance Under Canvas

Shivajirao Gaekwar of Saffronart shares some information on the campaign furniture available as part of Saffronart’s upcoming Travel & Leisure Auction

An Elegant Campaign Day Bed, Lot 36

An Elegant Campaign Day Bed, Lot 36. Image Credit:

Mumbai: Representative of a more elegant time, campaign furniture is synonymous with luxury travel, the gentleman traveller, historic military campaigns across the world in the 19th century, and the luxurious ‘shikar’ or shooting camps  of the British Raj. It’s surprising portability and light weight meant that the gentleman officers of the 19th century could take the comforts of home everywhere they went, be it the military campaigns across the Indian Empire or Africa – everything could be dismantled or folded within minutes, and would travel from camp to camp by long supply trains which would comprise of elephant, camel, bullock cart, or horses. Historically, campaign furniture has been documented as being used as early as the time of the Roman Empire, but most commonly associated with the British Empire through the Georgian, and right up to the Victorian periods (1714 – 1901). (Nicholas A. Brawer, British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740-1914).

A Teakwood Campaign Bed, Lot 8

A Teakwood Campaign Bed, Lot 8. Image Credit:

Theoretically, all furniture, usually made either of teak or mahogany, specifically to be dismantled into two or more sections or folded for easy transport, and designed to be packed up and carried ‘on the march’, can be described as campaign furniture. Campaign furniture is easily recognizable as it usually comes with brass corners and strap work for protection during transportation. Everything from the brass detail, hinges in odd places or ‘X-frame’ legs, all give clues to the functionality of campaign furniture (Nicholas A. Brawer, British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740-1914).

Even today, these rare, superbly engineered pieces, with their simple, clean lines are as elegant and functional as they were for their original purpose.

A Circular Folding Campaign Table, Lot 7

A Circular Folding Campaign Table, Lot 7. Image Credit:

You can view more examples of campaign furniture on our Travel & Leisure online catalogue.

Along with campaign furniture, other beautiful and interesting items will be available as part of the auction, scheduled to take place on the Saffronart website on 29-30 July, 2013.

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