Antique oak partners desks became popular during the latter part of the 19th century, and are still widely sought after today for offices and boardrooms.
Often of a formidable size, the antique oak partners desk originated in the United Kingdom, where it was developed for use by banking partners. In design, it is basically two pedestal desks constructed as a single unit, for use by two people facing each other. It was adapted from the earlier library desk design. These massive pieces of furniture were primarily used in the private libraries of country mansions and stately homes.
The partners desk had the prestige and convenience of a pedestal desk, but was large enough for two bankers to work together in comfort. As time progressed, the style was adopted by industrial boardrooms, solicitors offices and anywhere else where shared desk space was needed. The antique oak partners desk is often called a double or twin pedestal desk, although not all double pedestal desks can be used by two people.
Antique oak partners desks are handsomely finished, with brass fittings and tooled leather tops, and often incorporate other high quality woods such as mahogany and walnut. Some are highly elaborate – such as the famous Resolute Desk which sits in the Oval Office of the White House. This massive piece of furniture was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Hayes in 1880, and was one of several pieces of furniture fashioned from the timbers of HMS Resolute, which played a vital role in cementing Anglo-American relations. At first glance, the Resolute doesn’t look like an antique oak partners desk; it has a front panel meaning two people can’t use it. In fact, this is a hinged panel, ordered as a modification by President Roosevelt to conceal his leg braces, although it wasn’t actually installed until after his death.
Antique oak partners desks vary in size. However, be careful of smaller versions which are often reproduction. We at Christian Davies have a good selection of genuine Victorian and Edwardian antique oak partners desks in stock.