The antique davenport desk was first recorded in the George III period of 1790, in the records of the renowned cabinet maker Gillows of Lancaster and it states ‘Captain Davenport desk’. It was built and commissioned for Captain Davenport and was the first example of this type of small Mahogany writing desk, called by the captain’s name. During the late Georgian and Victorian eras, the davenport was mainly used by the Lady and would have of a small chest of drawers with a desk on top. The antique davenport desk changed very little in design over the many years it was in production. Most antique davenports have four drawers that open at one side (Sometimes concealed by a cupboard door ) and has faux drawer fronts on the opposite side. These 19th Century desks are fitted with casters at the bottom so they can be moved around easily and the sloping lid will have a leather writing surface that lifts up on a hinge. The best examples have a ‘piano top’ whereby the top looks like the back of a piano, when pushed on, it opens up revealing lots of lovely compartments, usually built in a Burr Walnut. The Victorian davenport desk was more elaborately decorated with scrolled or turned supports that allow a recessed space for more leg room. Inlay, decorative brass, fretwork carvings and wood turned knobs was used. The antique davenport design was still in production in the Edwardian period and is a very popular piece to buy today. Please visit our antique desks section or have a look below at a few lovely examples we have available for sale.
Antique Davenport Desk for sale
Styles of Antique Davenport Desks
Here are a few examples that we have previously sold. This Sensational 19th century Victorian Burr Walnut Piano Top Antique Davenport Desk dates from ca. 1860. It has a brass gallery above a pop up back, having pigeon holes and small drawers with birch fronts. The hinged lid opens to reveal two drawers with satin birch fronts and small knobs along with a pull-out writing slide, pen and ink compartments and hinged tooled leather writing insert. Under one of the small drawers is a small button which releases the piano top. This fine antique desk has working drawers with turned handles down one side and faux on the opposite. The back is polished, with a moulded panel and it stands on turned bun feet.
This Stunning Victorian Antique Davenport Desk dates from ca. 1860 and is very rare being in Yew wood.
In the Gillows Design, this Rosewood William IV Antique Davenport is extremely unique due to the sliding top and dates from around 1835. It has a beautifully turned gallery with a writing slope and the early / original tooled leather writing insert. This splendid piece stands on unusual turned feet with castors and has been finished all the way round so may be placed in the centre of the room if so desired.
This stunning eaxmaple was made from a figured walnut but had a very unusual pull out interior. The decorative carved fretwork gallery was a nice addition and there was a small button to pop up the back.