If you are looking to buy an antique desk that makes a statement, the pedestal desk provides an imposing piece of furniture with an expansive work surface.
Prices range from a few hundred pounds to many thousands. Earliest examples appeared in Britain around 1765 where mahogany from the West Indies was becoming the wood of choice for cabinet makers. The desk’s popularity soared with its inclusion by Thomas Chippendale in his pattern book ‘Gentlemen and Cabinet Maker’s Director’.
Although quite fixed in its design, the pedestal desk was very much bespoke to the needs of the customer who would visit Chippendale’s workshops in St Martins in London. However, Chippendale’s original designs were also heavily copied by cabinet makers throughout the country and these were also referred to as ‘Chippendale’ as furniture of the period rarely carried a mark. An exception to this however, was Robert Gillow from Lancaster who always proudly stamped his furniture.
The styles of pedestal desk can be identified by the earlier elaborate decorative designs of the Rococo period, through to simpler lighter examples of George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton towards to end of the 18th century, both of whom published pattern guides similar to that of Chippendale. The robust design of the desk also meant that it transcended effortlessly from the lighter Regency period into the heavier more ornate styles favoured by the Victorians and versions of the antique desk in all its forms are still manufactured today.
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