11 Apr 2021
October 16, 2010 - Filed under: Antique Desks,History of Antiques — Richard

One of the most successful pieces of commercial antique furniture has been the Partners’ Desk. It is similar in style to the Pedestal Desk except that there are drawers on the front and back of the piece creating a mirror image. The idea was that two partners in business or the professions could work opposite each other.

Thomas Chippendale in his Gentlemen and Cabinet-Maker’s Director from 1750 onwards was targeting these newly emerging professional and commercial classes. Initially the pedestal desk was to be found in aristocratic libraries and estate offices, but now the nouveau riche were also demanding high quality cabinet making to show off their newly acquired wealth.

Although the Partners’ Desk had tended to reflect classic Chippendale styling and still does today, later variations by both Hepplewhite and Sheraton produced kidney and serpentine rather than rectangular shaped desks, with handles and mounts that reflected the fashion for Neo-classical styling towards the end of the 18th century. These variations were also revived towards the end of Victoria’s reign when classical styling became very popular again.

It was hardly surprising however that the more conventional Chippendale design remained popular during the 19th century when British commercialism was at its height and the straight lines of the desk made it ideal for machine production. Mahogany has remained the wood of choice except during the Regency period when lighter woods such as satinwood were used, and later in the 19th century when oak again became popular.

Partners’ Desks are a wonderful addition to any modern office. When looking for antique desks in Cumbria and Lancashire, local dealers will have fine examples in stock.

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