A Large Victorian Period Oak Writing / Library Table c.1890


Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1885-1895
Depth: 44.5 inches
Width: 72 inches
Height: 28 inches

The six foot wide solid oak writing desk having the original black leather inset top and two frieze drawers with the original pressed metal cup handles, locks and key, standing on turned baluster tapered legs and brass castors survives from the late Victorian period.

The condition is mainly good, though the leather-writing surface is a little tired with one or two gauge marks though it has character, just like the oak which is of a good colour and healthy patina. She is structurally sound, her castors are later replacements, but of the highest quality. The rest of the table is original to its creation.

There are the remains of an ivorine traders label to the underside reading ‘f.gamman house furnisher..’ which happily helps us to date the table rather accurately; Mr F. Gammon traded from The "Furniture Stores", Complete House Furnisher, Carpet Factor, Bedding Manufacturer, etc at number 85 on the High Street  in Bedford, England and is mentioned in the ‘Where to buy at Bedford: an illustrated local review’ of 1891.

Desks first appear in the late 17th century (1600's) as bureaus, they were an adaptation of the chest of drawers onto which the writing slope was fitted. Almost a century later during the Regency period in England the 'Writing' or 'Library Table' became popular as a fine, usually mahogany table, with turned and sometimes fluted legs. The writing table is also sometimes called a library table, because it was often placed in a rich individual's library. Partner’s desks and writing tables have drawers or drawers and cupboards to both long sides and are generally of large size. They were developed to aid communication between partners in a business and to show equality of status. During the period 1830/70 they often had rounded edges and moulding's to the drawer fronts. The handles were generally turned wooden knob pulls.

As the century progressed oak once more came back into fashion and the edges of the pedestals and top were at right angles and drawer fronts were mainly plain. During this period,1870 - 1910, desks were produced in large numbers and of varying quality. Brass and pressed metal handles, as we see here, were more often used than turned wooden knobs.

A generously sized writing table with super character.