Although the Victorians were very fond of adapting earlier styles of furniture, they more or less left the pedestal desk alone. The design of the antique desk suited their commercial sensibilities well anyway and overall the quality of the desk was not affected through it being machined produced rather than hand made. Machines were good at cutting straight pieces of wood, which the partners’ desk had in abundance.
Mahogany still remained the most popular wood of choice for the desk throughout the Victorian era, although later in the century oak became popular again. The desire for oak was a reaction against the machine generally and fitted in with the Arts and Crafts Movement, Victorian retrospection to a pre-industrial age and a return to handcraftsmanship. Unfortunately most of this oak now came from Austria and was lighter than the home grown British variety.
A good selection of these Victorian revival pedestal desks survive today in good order. There are a few points to watch out for though when buying one. Firstly, ensure that the two pedestals and the top all match up and have not been married together. The antique desk may or may not have its original writing panel. Changing fashions often meant that handles were replaced during the course of its life. Check that it has all its original veneers. Newly applied veneers can often lift. Finally, more modern continental examples may have been aged to look like 18th and 19th century pieces.
When looking to buy Victorian pedestal antique desks, Preston antique dealers will show you a good selection of well made pieces.
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