lady's travel chest

Lady’s travel chest c. 1820s

Choosing a favorite item among all the beautiful antiques at the Condé-Charlotte Museum is not an easy task, but one of my favorites is the lovely lady’s travel chest in our French Empire sitting room.  It is practical, portable, and pretty.

This petite chest, dating from the 1820s, is made of rosewood with intricate wood inlay.  The front panels open to reveal three drawers with tiny ivory pulls. The top drawer is fascinating, with spaces provided for sewing and writing implements, including sealing wax and seal. The middle drawer is for jewelry, which no lady would travel without.

The bottom drawer, when removed, opens to provide a slanted, leather-covered writing surface and compartments for stationery, pens, and ink bottles.  We are reminded of a gracious era when hand-written letters were the only means of long-distance communication.

Please come for a tour to see this and all the other lovely pieces in the House of Five Flags.   We would love to point out all our favorites!

Katie Mulkerne, docent for 10 years

top drawer of travel chest

Top drawer for sewing and writing implements

writing drawer of travel chest

Bottom drawer portable writing desk