Antique Davenport Desks

When thinking of furnishing a study or office with a writing surface, an antique davenport desk probably doesn't instantly spring to mind - that is if you've ever heard of one - it's a piece of furniture that isn't often found in homes anymore. Affordable desks are often thought of as ready to assemble or pine desks that you can grab off the shelf. Think more along the lines of a vintage writing bureau and you'll be halfway there.

It is thought that Davenport desk took its name from the man who originally commissioned it - Captain Davenport. The well known Cabinetmakers Gillow and Co made the first Davenport desk, which furniture historians theorise was required to be compact and slim enough to fit comfortably into a ships cabin. Unfortunately, little is known about the Captain as no military records have been found on him. If indeed the name did derive from him, he has left his impression on the furniture industry with this superb piece of study furniture.

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Traditionally, these quality antique writing desks were made of solid mahogany, a strong and sturdy wood, commonly available during the 18th and 19th Century. Other stunning examples are made of rosewood, walnut and other fine quality woods. The antique Davenport has a distinctive shape; using a hinged lid desk top, with a set of drawers on one side, with dummy or false drawers on the opposite side. Ideal for writing, the sloped surface is set at the right inclination to make keeping up with correspondence a comfortable hobby. The writing surface of some early davenports move forward to accommodate the writer – later pieces are sometimes fixed in the position for writing without having to move anything.

Davenports are versatile pieces of furniture, with most being well finished on all sides as they were often freestanding. Some are fitted with castors for easier mobility. For a desk of small proportions, they also offer a lot of storage space. Many of these antique desks have ink wells and contain pigeon holes and small internal drawers. Some Victorian davenports appeared with a piano top – a hinged lid named after the curved form of pianos. They reveal the hidden compartments and writing storage.

These special compact desks suit modern life well and can be used with our advances in technology. For those who prefer to use a laptop to keep up with correspondence, many examples of davenports would comfortably fit a laptop and accessories. A desk doesn't have to be a simple table - it can be a much more interesting piece of furniture,.

Antique Rosewood Davenport

Antique Rosewood Davenport

Victorian Walnut Davenport

Victorian Walnut Davenport


If you liked this blog post, why not take a look at the Kernow Furniture blog archive.

Looking for affordable vintage furniture? Visit our SALE Collection to view cheap antique furniture for sale.

June 03, 2019 — Benita Ellis-Kelly

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