The pedestal desk appeared in Britain around the mid 18th century and was traditionally made of mahogany, which had eclipsed walnut at this stage. The style which we know today was made popular through the designs of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentlemen and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, which first appeared in 1754 and the design was copied and adapted by numerous cabinet makers such as Robert Gillow of Lancaster. Unlike most cabinet makers, Gillow used to stamp his work, which makes it readily recognisable.
Although Chippendale only designed furniture, and no examples of pedestal desks from his workshop were actually stamped by him personally, some very grand examples attributed to him remain today. Chippendale collaborated with architect/interior designers such as Robert Adam and as such Chippendale designed furniture became part of the general interiors scheme of large country houses, such as Osterley Park. The pedestal desk itself also transcended stylistic changes and took on much plainer designs, reflecting the changing taste from rococo to neo-classicism. Both George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton both published their own respective furniture guides, like Chippendale, although no antique desks or other pieces of furniture can be positively attributed to either of these designers.
As was common with 19th century Victorian furniture, the desk tended to be heavier in construction and was revived in many of the styles made popular by the three great 18th century cabinet makers mentioned. The desk was also known as the partners desk, the origins being that two men, or partners, could work from the same desk. With the onset of mass production during the Victorian period, good quality office furniture, like the partners desk, was in high demand.
If you are searching for Victorian antique desks in Lancashire , then antique dealers in Preston or elsewhere should be able to help.
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