Archive for February, 2011


Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Some of you reading this blog have asked about the dog sitting on my lap shown in the photo on my first blog “Hello World”. She is a 9 year old English Springer Spaniel called Jessica & is my constant companion. Usually found asleep in her basket under my (antique) desk she also travels with me most places I visit. Intensely loyal, very affectionate, full of fun & extremely protective…………………Thank you for asking.

A stock of Antique Desks for sale & export can be found on our website

A ( very brief & simple ) history of desks. ( pt. 2)

Monday, February 21st, 2011

an early 18th cent. George 1 walnut veneered desk

John Evelyn described the Restoration of Charles 11 in 1660 as ” a politer way of living”. Great changes discussed in the last post were taking place in furniture design – the age of the Joiner was giving way to the age of the Cabinet Maker only to give way itself in the next century to the age of the Designer. Charles had spent most of his exile in Holland and his successor (after James 11) William 111 was himself Dutch. The new fashion of veneering & inlaying furniture in highly figured & exotic woods, especially burr Walnut, arrived with them from the Continent . Interestingly the finest cabinet work at the time was carried out by Huguenot craftsmen who settled in England & Ireland after 1688.

The most popular form of writing furniture of the Queen Anne / George 1 period was the bureau, often with a fitted but separate bookcase top, The flat-top desk & the huge and expensive Secretaire with its pull down writing surface & fitted interior much favoured by the wealthy. Small desks of this period were of the knee-hole type with small drawers either side of a recessed cupboard, often with a small frieze drawer above the knee recess, usually in veneered figured walnut with cross grain mouldings, cross & feather banding. Simpler country versions can be found in other timbers such as Yew or Oak.

In 1733 the tax on imported timber was abolished & Mahogany from the West Indies started to become the more fashionable wood for the later Georgian period…………………………cont.

A (very brief & simple ) history of desks. (pt.1)

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Trinity College, Dublin houses amongst others two of the great national treasures of Ireland, the Book of Durrow & the Book of Kells. ‘ Written, if that is the correct word for the creation of these great masterpieces, by monks in the seventh & eight centuries AD. Whilst these monks would not have known the name or concept of the later “desk”, the stand at which they worked, with its high angled back & possible shelf for materials would have been a major furniture item in the great Western monasteries in which these masterpieces where produced. Throughout the early & later medieval period very few Western kings or their subjects were literate & most of the written word was delegated to Clerks (clerics) trained in these monasteries. The type of table, of simple construction with a sloping top can still be seen in many of the libraries of ancient Universities including Trinity College. A very much later & smaller variation of this type of ‘desk’ evolved into 18th-19th century high ‘clerks desks’ & the uncomfortable pre 1950’s school desks that many of us still remember.

Today, the period where the history of modern desk designs began is considered to be the later part of the 17th Century. The end of the Thirty Years War, the Great Civil War in England & Ireland and the Restoration of Monarchy heralded a far more peaceful prosperous age . This period saw a great sea change in architecture, furniture, fashion & design. Education & literacy was now much desired . Above all, it saw the rise of a new wealthy & working middle class society, merchants & professionals who needed more than just a table at which to work but a special item of furniture complete with drawers & storage space. First of all these were of a Bureau type, still with a sloping top but with fitted interior storage space and drawers beneath. Some still made in oak, the very best now constructed in oak & pine and then covered in the lastest ‘must have’ craze from Continental Europe, veneered Walnut. Only slightly later the first, small flat top desks appeared also usually in figured veneered walnut and the era of the modern desk began……………….cont.

A range of antique desks for sale & export can be found at

An appreciation of old desks.

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

It is arguable that no other item of furniture has played a greater role in shaping the everyday destiny of mankind than the humble desk or writing table. We all live daily with decisions made at them War & peace deals are brokered, careers made and broken, papers written , cheques signed, personal relationships are started & ended near them We work at them, we play on them and sadly we sometimes even die at them. The list goes on forever & is endless. We all use them & we all take them for granted. Very occasionally, as in the cases of Charles Dickens and a certain Captain Davenport, types of desk are forever named after us.

So why, if we take them for granted would we choose to buy an Antique Desk rather than a much cheaper later one ?

Could it be that they impart a strong sense of gravitas? Is it that they are usually so well made that they will last for many lifetimes (and often already have)? Is it because they are”Green” and are recycled? Is it because most were first designed by the greatest cabinet designers that ever lived (Chippendale, Sheraton, Adam Bros. etc etc)? Is it because that they are usually , in their own right, stunning items of furniture that will sit almost anywhere ? Or is it simply that it makes good economic sense to invest in an item used daily that will usually sell on later for more than its initial purchase price ?

Perhaps it is all of these things, plus perhaps that for many of us, sitting at an Antique Desk brings a sense of history & belonging, that others before have sat here with the same feelings, problems & work load. What stories this old desk could tell if only it could speak ?

It is also a proven fact that most clients or patients consulting a professional who is sitting at a highly polished antique desk will have an added feeling of confidence & re assurance in that professional.

There is quite a lot to be said in favor of “that old desk”………….