For the modern executive wanting to make an imposing statement in the office, nothing looks better than an antique mahogany partners desk . Often advertised as pedestal desks, there are subtle differences – starting with the size. Antique mahogany partners desks were made for banking executives working in pairs, and are often massive!
The partners desk evolved from the large library desks (sometimes called library tables) which were popular in Regency England. Thomas Chippendale had many innovative ideas for improving writing furniture and is credited with the antique mahogany partners desk design we see today. Library desks were designed with twin pedestals fashioned as cupboards (sometimes with drawers above). The partners desk adopted this to a stack of drawers, sometimes retaining the cupboard on one side.
People get confused with the difference between partners and pedestal desks – which are often advertised as partner desks when they’re not. Basically, a pedestal desk can be placed against a wall; a true partners desk is designed to be free-standing, to be viewed from all angles. It is basically two pedestal desks built as one unit, with drawers and/or cupboards on both the long sides. The top will be broader in shape, and there will be no modesty panel unless the desk has been modified (as at the White House.)
Antique mahogany partners desks were generally built in three sections: two pedestals containing drawers and maybe cupboards, plus a flat top, which was usually inset with leather for writing purposes. Beneath the top is a horizontal section, called a frieze, linking the pedestals together. This is often fitted with three drawers, one above each pedestal plus a longer central compartment. This arrangement is usually matched on the other side of the desk.
Built to impress, antique mahogany partners desks are often finely inlaid and highly decorated. Those attributed to Chippendale and Gillows are highly sought after and very expensive. However, Chippendale and Regency Revival examples are widely available, and affordable. We at Christian Davies stock a wide selection of antique mahogany partners desks. .