Capital Improvements to the Encampment

Scroll to the bottom for photos!

I wanted to take a moment and share some of the wonderful antiques that I have been fortunate enough to come upon lately and share these beautiful pieces that will be making their way into our encampment at Pennsic this year. I will also share a few photos of last years encampment for reference.

As some may know, in the mundane world I make my living as a theatrical set designer. This means I have a keen need to create beautiful, immersive environments– especially when we are escaping the modern world for two weeks to attend Pennsic. Our encampment is a mix of more historical pieces we built ourselves (some for function over form), antiques that I have collected that “feel in the world,” and modern pieces that can at least camouflage into our medieval campsite.

One of my ongoing quests has been to find more period chairs. This week I hit the jackpot. I monitor many online sites that sell second hand antiques (various Facebook marketplaces, eBay, craigslist and so forth). Early in the week, I hit upon a woman selling off all the furniture in her house to prepare for a move. She has something for sale that she was calling “antique chair”. I’d call it a Dantesca– a curule type chair similar to a Savonarola but with only an x-shape on the front and back rather than the many you see on Savonarola. It has beautiful carving (in fact the carving on the back piece kind of looks like Grumpy Cat to me). Jeff picked it up on Thursday, and, if we had only found the Dantesca this week, it still would have been a success.

However, in my heart of hearts, what I have been searching for is a pair of Savonarola chairs. I have been looking for almost two years and have found many for sale, but rarely have I found a set for under a thousand dollars. Then it happened. A man in Virginia was selling some “Antique Chairs- could be a good conversation piece?” this week. I contacted him, bought the pair, and met him today. We are so pleased with all three chairs!

As a side note, the carved wooden screen, that the chairs are photographed in front of, is also a recent Facebook marketplace find. It will be making it’s way to Pennsic to serve as a dressing screen this year.

Oh, and if you’ve managed to read this entire post, I’ll reward you with a terrible furniture history joke… How do you tell the difference between a Savonarola Chair and a Dantesca Chair? A Savonarola has more kindling!

Savonarola detail
Detail of the carving on the dantesca (do you see Grumpy Cat?).
Our Encampment. Home.
Inside the tent. Building the bed was a big project for us last year.
Under the Dining Fly. This year I hope to build a larger dining table.

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