Relevant categories: Desks
Think of a Georgian English lady, sat by a large bay window in a country manor-house, carefully penning a letter to a loved one. Chances are, she is writing on a Davenport desk. The Davenport first appeared during the 1790s, during the reign of king George III. Captain Davenport commissioned renowned cabinet maker, Gillows of Lancaster, to build the first desk for him which bares him name to this day.
(Above photo: Incredibly rare antique Burmese Davenport desk )
The Davenport desk has under-gone many modifications, but the basic characteristics remain the same. Davenports are presented as a small, single-person writing desk with two draws on one side and matching faux draws on the other. The top of the desk is slopped allowing an easy writing position that hinges up to reveal space for various writing supplies, such as, paper, ink, quills and envelopes. The writing surface is covered in supple leather, providing a soft and comfortable writing experience and to help stop paper and parchment from sliding down. Most Davenport desks also have a pull-out side shelf to store finished pages or reference material.
Classic Davenport desks have four legs, usually ornately carved, and splayed or curved to allow for more leg-room although, they sometimes have a boxed-base for more storage. They are most commonly made of mahogany however, rosewood is rarer and, therefore, more desirable. The best examples have inlaid brass or boxwood designs with brass handles and fixings. Coasters were fitted to many Davenport desks to make them easier to move around and store away when not in use.
Davenport desks remained popular far into Victorian times and beyond. They are still a favourite among antique furniture collectors to this day, due to the specificity of their design and the craftmanship that went into creating each individual example. Owning a Davenport desk implies a certain sophistication and high-standing, especially among those with a literary or professional background.
The Davenport - perfect for the man / woman / person of letters.
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