A Quality Victorian Ebonised and Marquetry Inlaid Davenport


Origin: English
Period: Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870
Height: 32 inches
Width: 21 inches
Depth: 21 inches

With a lidded stationary box, fitted with compartments in boxwood for papers, wax, inkwells, and a pen tray, above a hinged writing slope, inset with a gilt-tooled leather writing surface, flanked by amboyna and satinwood marquetry inlaid panels.

The slope opens to a strikingly blond satinwood interior, offering storage for important papers and documents, with two internal drawers. Both the stationary compartment and the writing slope have original locks with working keys. On one side of the davenport is a bank of four drawers, with four opposing dummy drawers, each with small brass escutcheon. The front of the piece is beautifully inlaid with satinwood strung amboyna panels, and the whole sits on four original brown ceramic casters.

Davenports are compact pieces of writing furniture first introduced in the late eighteenth century, and, unlike bureaus and other writing furniture such as the escritoire, are intended to be free standing, which means that they are well-finished and veneered on all sides. An entry made in the 1790s in the records of the Lancaster furniture maker's Gillows, states “Captain Davenport, A desk”, which is considered the origin of these small writing desks that bear his name. It is not known whether or not he commissioned the desk for himself or for a lady, but throughout the nineteenth century they were predominantly used by women, gentlemen favouring the stouter bureau.

A beautiful and expensively made desk, overall in very good condition, and perfect to use for penning love letters, or for resting your laptop on while you browse Doe & Hope online!?