Ratan furniture, similar in style to this chair, was used by British colonists.

The European soldiers, farmers, adventure-seekers, and administrators all brought their best furniture, tableware, and decorative items to the “Dark Continent” and adapted these designs to their new climate and the materials at hand. The result was a colonial design style that favored furniture made of hardwoods like mahogany and teak, which wouldn’t rot in the humid equatorial climate. British colonial décor featured many “camp,” or campaign-style, pieces. These chairs, desks, and tables with brass hardware could be easily disassembled, folded, and carried with their owners as they moved to a new property, set up camp during a safari, or took to the road on a military campaign during the Boer Wars. The colonists also kept their steamer trunks nearby, using them as coffee tables or for storage at the foot of their beds. Along with these European ele- ments, colonists incorporated native elements such as animal hides and pelts. They also adapted to their environment by using things like mosquito netting, khaki and white cotton upholstery, and rattan furniture.



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