The interwar period between the First and Second World Wars isn’t always regarded as the golden age for desk design however the roll top desk is an exception. During this period, desks were still being much copied from earlier styles and some pieces are extremely fine. However modern designs of light oak with matching oak handles were now being made. Although these desks tended to be quite utilitarian in appearance, generally they were compact and well put together and it is these desks that tend to typify the period.
The quality of the desk is judged by the fit-up inside the tambour or roll-top. Finer examples often have contrasting wood pigeonholes and there can be inlay, grooving and panelling which will also enhance the value. The desk can also vary in shape between half pedestal and pedestal.
The roll-top desk is always best with its original tambour as these are difficult to replace. For this reason many desks of the period with broken tambours have been adapted to a Georgian flat top style. So, when buying a desk of this period, check that the desk is in its original condition, that the roll top doesn’t jam, look at the quality of the fit-up, and make sure that the locks work and that the handles are not replacements. Also, 3ft 2 inches is considered to be an ideal size for modern living then and now.
These desks look particularly well in Art Deco housing of the period. When buying 1920s or 30s antique desks, Cumbria and Lancashire dealers will guide you on quality and value for money.
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