Antique desks can be a fine piece of antique furniture to add to your collection but how do you know what all the different styles are? Well below is everything you need to know from A to Z –

antique bureau


Antique Bureau

The Antique Bureau is a type or early writing desk with a sloping fall-front, first seen in the mid 17th Century in France. Originally the fall front was supported by gate legs but by the 18th century this was replaced with sliding pull out loppers at each side. The bureau is sat on a chest of drawers and the interiors have small drawers, pigeon holes, sliding bookends or bible wells and leather writing surfaces.


Bonheur Du Jour


Antique Bonheur Du

The Antique Bonheur Du Jour is a style of antique desk originating from France and the name means “daytime delight”, but was later called ‘a lady’s writing desk’. The bonheur du jour is finished on all sides so it can be appreciated from all sides. They are quite fine looking with a leather writing surfaces.




Antique Carlton House Desk


Antique Carlton House Desks

The Antique Carlton House desk was named after The Prince Regents London residence Carlton House as this style of desk was first designed for this residence. They are very expensive pieces as they are quite rare and quality built.



antique cylinder desk


Antique Cylinder Desk

The antique cylinder desk has a front in a cylinder shape that opens to reveal a writing surface, pigeon holes and usually stands on fine tapering legs. It took a lot of skill to build such an unusual shape so they were usually built in very expensive timbers, as they were built for the wealthy.



Davenport Desk


Antique Davenport Desk

The antique davenport desk was first recorded in the 1790s, made by Gillows of Lancaster and it states ‘Captain Davenport desk’, built and commissioned for Captain Davenport. The Davenport was a small Ladies desk with sloping lid and working drawers on one side along with faux dummy drawer fronts on the opposite side. The best examples have a ‘piano top’ whereby the top looks like the back of a piano but when pushed on, it pops opens up revealing compartments for stationary.



antique dickens desk


Antique Dickens Desks

The Dickens desk is an unusual design being a pedestal desk with a sloping centre with small bank of drawers on either side, this style of desk is supposedly what Charles dickens wrote his novels on.



antique Edwardian desk


Antique Edwardian Desks

The Edwardian Desk was made from 1901 to 1910, with new woodworking machines being used and this was the first period of mass production of furniture. Cabinet makers liked to copy earlier designs like Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, so you see this in desk decoration of the Edwardian period.  Arts and Crafts Desks from this period were still built by hand in the traditional ways.



antique Georgian desk


Antique Georgian Desks

The Antique Georgian Desk was made from 1714 to 1800 from a bureau to a pedestal desk in Mahogany or Walnut. They were hand made in solid woods with very thick veneers. You will see hand cut dovetail joints and because of their age, lots of charm, character from years of use, being over 200 years old.



antique kidney desk


Antique Kidney Desk

The Antique Kidney Desks were built in the Victorian and Edwardian periods with a leather top but in a curved Kidney shape.




antique library desk


Antique Library Desks

The Antique Library Desk was built for the Boardroom or Library and was a very large piece of office furniture. They were usually stood on turned legs rather on pedestals with drawers in the frieze.




Partners Desk


Antique Partners Desks

The Antique Partners Desk is a larger desk with working drawers or cupboards on both sides enabling two people to sit and work at them together.


antique pedestal desk


Antique Pedestal Desks

The Antique Pedestal Desk is free standing, usually with a leather top and two pedestals with a bank of drawers down both sides and a central kneehole. They are also called a kneehole desk.




antique roll top desk


Antique Roll Top Desks

The Antique roll top desk has a roll or tambour slatted front in Oak or Walnut usually from the Edwardian period. They stand on a single or twin pedestal and the tambour fronts are in a D or the rarer in an S shape.




antique secretaire desk


Antique Secretaire Desks

The antique Secretaire desk is an enclosed writing desk in the style of a cabinet, chest or be part of a bookcase. The writing section was hidden behind a folding drawer front or cupboard door on brass hinges.



antique Victorian desk


Antique Victorian Desks

The antique Victorian desk is from Queen Victoria’s period of 1837 to 1901 made from timbers such as Mahogany, Oak and Walnut. Usually solid built and occasionally with decorative carvings.




antique writing desk


Antique Writing Desks

Antique writing desks or writing tables were first developed in the Georgian period but were far more commonly used in the Victorian periods. They will have a leather top and were made using some exotic woods such as Rosewood with brass inlay, standing on solid brass castors so could easily be moved around the home.