Though the Army & Navy Co-operative Society, arguably the most popular military and colonial outfitter of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, did not include Brighton Buns in their Price List of 1881, by 1907 they were offering Brighton Buns for sale under the catalogue headings ‘Barrack Furniture and Camp Equipment,’ where they are referred to as ‘Brass Folding Candlesticks.’ They were also offered for sale through the Ironmongery Department, where they are described as ‘Military, brass.’ At the same time, under the heading ‘Stationery Fancy Goods,’ they offered ‘Travelling Candlesticks’ covered in ‘Russia leather,’ ‘Crocodile Leather,’ ‘Brass, 3 3/8 in. diameter,’ ‘Brass 3 7/8 in. diameter,’ and ‘Silver, 3 5/8 in. diameter.’ Similarly, around 1910, Harrod’s Supplementary Export Price List offered ‘Brass Candlesticks,’ both ‘large’ and ‘small’ under the catalogue heading ‘Barrack Furniture and Camp Equipment Department.’ Brighton Buns were still being advertised for military use by the Army & Navy Stores as late as 1925, when a pair of ‘Brass Folding Candlesticks’ is illustrated in the catalogue in the ‘Barrack Furniture and Camp Equipment Department.
In 1787, A. Hepplewhite and Company published its belief that ‘to unite elegance and utility and blend the useful with the agreeable has ever been considered a difficult, but an honourable task.’ Brighton buns realize this maxim to the letter.
NICHOLAS A. BRAWER is the author of British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740-1914, published in 2001 by Harry N. Abrams, and was the curator of Britain’s Portable Empire: Campaign Furniture of the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian Periods, an exhibition held in 2001 at the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York. Many of the examples of Brighton Buns illustrated here are ones that were sold by Christopher Clarke Antiques in Gloucestershire, England. However, the three pairs of Brighton Buns described below have generously been lent by their owners for the purpose of this article and we would like to express our thanks.