The Davenport desk is very compact and therefore the ideal antique for the small house or modern apartment. Originally built for a Captain Davenport at the end of the 18th century who commissioned the piece from Gillows of Lancaster , it was essentially a campaign piece of furniture although there is no evidence to suggest that the captain or his desk ever saw action. However because of its lightness and compactness for transportation from one campaign to another, this particular piece of furniture has remained generally more popular than many larger antiques.
The desk is essentially a writing slope placed on two often ornate legs or pillars at the front with a set or sets of small drawers behind the pillars facing outwards which support the back. The desktop itself when lifted also allows for more storage within the slope with additional small drawers fitted. The whole can look rather like an elaborate school desk, but with additions of the columns and outward drawers. The two columns or legs can be very grand indeed, large barley sugar twists, Doric columns or a large exaggerated cabriole leg are all examples. It is almost as though the cabinet maker wanted to include the very best and grandest of what he does into a small piece of furniture. Its fine proportions also mean the use of quality woods and veneers such as walnut or mahogany for the columns and drawers and Birdseye maple veneers for the inside of the writing slope.
There are some beautiful examples of this versatile desk still around, so when looking for period or revival antique desks, Preston dealers will be able to show you some fine individual pieces.
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