Relevant categories: Desks
(Above photo - Bureau De Roi Desk )
A bureau de cylinder (or cylinder desk) is one with a revolving cylindrical top you can pull down and lock once you finish working. It is similar to the writing table or bureau Mazarin and has tiny stacked shelves under the main work surface. To use it, you have to turn the revolving cylinder to expose the writing surface and lock it into place.
(Above photo - French Roll Top Desk - Empire Bureau Marquetry Inlay )
It is similar to the roll top desk (invented years later) because it has a fixed working surface. To shut the desk, you leave the paperwork on the work surface, roll it up and lock it. It is available in several designs, including one that slides out of the desk for additional inches of working space.
The bureau de cylinder is also known as the bureau of Kaunitz in French since it was Wenzel Anton Kaunitz who first introduced it in France in the early 18th century. Kaunitz has represented the Habsburg Empire in the French royal court. Without even caring about its origin, the French royal court adopted the Bureau de cylinder with a lot of enthusiasm.
(Above photo - Large roll top desk o bureau de cylinder )
Apart from the turning, lockable working surface, the desks had other features, including drawers under the work surface. Some of the desks stood on four embellished cabriole legs, while others took the form of a chest of drawers with a revolving work surface. The bureau de cylinder often took on all the other furniture features from the period in which it had been manufactured.
In most cases, the bureau de cylinder was made using mahogany as the primary material. In addition to the drawer handles and locks, it wasn't uncommon to find desks with beautiful marquetry embellishments. If the piece of furniture didn't have a square tapered leg, it stood on cabriole legs. These desks' designers took time to embellish them with ormolu decorations, creating a great contrast with the dark mahogany wood. The writing surface was often made from a highly decorated leather pad.
(Above photo - Antique French Bureau de Cylinder desk )
The bureau de cylinder was tough to manufacture, given that getting non-warping wooden sections isn't easy. Even so, the technology in use during the 19th century wasn't that advanced. Thus, the desks were rarer and popular with wealthy families who could afford to buy them. Today, you are likely to find a beautiful bureau de cylinder in an antique shop near you.
The bureau de cylinder often varied in size depending on the designers and purpose. While some had only a couple of drawers, others came with colossal storage space, including drawers and cupboards. In either case, the cylinder desk is convenient. Apart from acting as your work surface, you can use it to store books and lots of stationary.
A bureau de cylinder would be a great addition to any home. Not only would it serve as a practical writing surface, but also as a storage space. Now that you know the origin and evolution of the bureau de change, you can go ahead and buy one. We have several of these cylinder desks in our antique shop for your sampling and eventual sampling.
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