“The first axiom for camp is not to do without comfort…. does not make yourself uncomfortable for want of things to which you’re accustomed. That’s the great secret of camp life.”
(Annie Steele –Â The Complete Indian Housekeeper and CookÂ 1890)
Jeet and Raj Guram were raised in colonial cantonments all over India where “outdoors” was a way of life and having been exposed to Campaign furniture and field equipment early in life, the business of manufacturing what they knew, possessed and remembered came naturally to them.
Campaign furniture, ingeniously designed, easily knocked down and stacked, elegant, utilitarian, carefully wrought, finely detailed yet robust, was much in use during the Raj when outfitters had shops in remote towns on the Ganges to equip British officers and soldiers travelling by boat from Calcutta to stations as remote as Kabul.
This furniture, integral to the “genteel life abroad” was once manufactured by the legendary houses of Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Ross and Company of Dublin. Clean, highly polished, stylishly executed, this furniture was once de rigeur in every self respecting British officer’s camp or temporary residence. It lent sumptuousness, aesthetic appeal and a modicum of civilised refinement to the makeshift tent where Raj era officers on the move forcibly lodged for months on end. After all, the practise had a hoary tradition: history tells us Julius Caesar carried parquets of wooden mosaic for his tent floors!
Today a Campaign Furniture staple like the Roorkee Chair has been accorded the status of a design classic: it directly inspired later modern classics like Marcel Breur’s 1925 Wassily Chair, Le Corbusier’s Basculart Chair 1928 and Kaare Klint’s Farmer’s Chair 1966.
Jeet and Raj Guram are descendants of Raja Bhagmal Jat of the royal house of Bithur, who played a defining role in establishing Cawnpore as a trading town in the early 19th century.
With this ancestry they were predisposed to being connoisseurs of both fine art and elegant living of which Campaign Furniture is a supreme exemplar. As avid conservationists/ revivalists they have painstakingly resourced and revitalised near extinct craft skills to produce and make possible a whole range of customised furniture where each piece is a limited edition work of art.