Knee hole desk that belonged to the Commandant of the 14th Bengal Lancers.


A small knee hole desk measuring 43 ins wide and 23 ins from back to front overall. The writing surface is 30 ins from the floor and the back superstructure is a further 17 ins tall at the centre point. This unusual desk was clearly carved in India and was brought back to Scotland by Lt Col Peter Robert Bairnsfather who was Commandant of the 14th Murray’s Jat Lancers in the 1890s. The front of the desk is profusely carved with floral decoration and the superstructure is centred by a regimental badge with campaigns on either side – Mutiny, Bhutan, Charasia, & Kabul. The two pedestals are separate from the top and the superstructure is attached by screws to the back. Each pedestalcontains two drawers and a cupboard, that on the right being divided into four sections to contain rolled paper. The right pedestal also has a small cupboard which opens into the knee hole and is fitted with a lock [no key]. The desk’s writing surface has had a covering but this has been removed, probably because it had become badly affected by moth.

Peter Robert Bairnsfather was originally commissioned into the 6th Lancers but transferred to the 14th Murray’s Jat Lancers, regiment raised in 1857. He served in the Jowaki expedition of 1877 [medal with clasp] and in the 2nd Afghan War [Medal with two clasps] when he fought at the battle of Charasia and around Kabul. As the senior captain in 1888 he was officiating commandant of the regiment. He retired from the army in 1904. In 1914 he published the book Sport and Nature in the Himalayas

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