Secretaire handy for old-time travellers

Peter Woof, of Evandale Antiques, with a book recording trade between England and China. Picture: MARK JESSER

Peter Woof, of Evandale Antiques, with a book recording trade between England and China. Picture: MARK JESSER

BACK in the days when there were no furniture department stores and people sailed the world in search of their fortune, a custom-built campaign secretaire was handy.

Basically a wooden desk built for easy movement and used for writing and storing clothes, the unusual piece was part of the Tasmanian Antiques Fair at Albert Hall in Launceston yesterday.

Fair co-organiser and Evandale antiques dealer Peter Woof said the secretaire belonged to a seaman named A.K.N. Tremearne, who in 1829 sailed aboard the ship Charles Grant from London to China and wrote a log.

He owned the secretaire, and that desk and his log, full of his immaculate writing, is for sale at Mr Woof's stand for $8750.

Mr Woof said the desk was designed with nooks inside to hold the many items needed for a long voyage and on the outside had reinforced corners, recessed handles and other features for ease of movement and longevity.

Fellow co-organiser Robert Henley, a Longford antique dealer, said the secretaire was a large item but this year, more compact items, called "smalls" were in demand.

Mr Henley said smalls were popular when people wanted something interesting without spending a lot.

Another strong seller was old books - still in demand despite Google, the internet and e-books.

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