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Antique Writing Furniture - the basic choices

Flat Top Desks: these are the most popular type of desk being the most versatile, particularly when a large work space is required for paperwork and/or computer equipment. Various sizes are available from the smallest 36" (91cm) width up to larger workspaces of 72" (183cm) or greater. The depth of the desk is important - the narrower the desk the closer the working material is to the user - a deeper desk allows more storage but some of it may be out of arms reach.


Desks with Superstructure: very popular in Victorian times and earlier. These desks - which take many forms, Dickens desks, bankers desks, roll top desks, Carlton House Desks etc - have a raised structure at the back of the desk with drawers, small cupboards or pigeon holes for stationery. Many of these desks were designed to stand against a wall and have a relatively plain or even unfinished rear elevation. Some desks have flat writing surfaces, some have raised writing slopes with storage underneath - those with the slope are becoming popular again since the slope provides an ideal "work station" for a laptop computer.


Desks for more than one person: larger desks that have significant depth can be used by two people - facing each other - see Partners' Desks below. They would likely stand in the middle of an office or study to allow access to all sides of the desk. Obviously such desks also offer a very large work space for a single user.


Desks to be seen from all angles: as mentioned above some height adjustable desks were always designed to stand against a wall. The original cabinet makers therefore spent less time finishing the rear elevation of the desk, sometimes even leaving it with relatively unfinished timbers. Other desks were however always designed to make an impression on anyone entering a room and facing the person sitting behind the desk. In this instance the "rear" of the desks would be highly polished, panelled and often decorated or carved. Partners' Desks also serve this purpose in offering an interesting and usable rear facade.

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