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Antique Bureaus & Antique Desks

Antique bureaux (or bureaus) are pieces with a writing flap that is hinged and folds down from a 45 degree angle when closed to provide a flat writing surface. The space behind often has a variety of pigeon hole compartments with small drawers below and usually a central cupboard. Very often there are hidden, or secret, drawers and hiding places.

Theses antique bureaus evolved, in the second half of the 17th century, from simple portable writing boxes with sloping lids. The earliest examples probably started as a stand on which to place a portable writing slope. This evolved into a bureau standing on legs.

Making use of space beneath for drawers was an obvious development which happened around the start of the 18th century and this style of what most people think of as an antique bureau.

However, the bureau standing on legs continued to be a popular piece of furniture. These are sometimes called antique bureaus and sometimes antique desks.

The antique bureaux we sell are mainly 18th century, from the Queen Anne and Georgian periods, in oak, mahogany, with the occasional fine example in walnut or burr yew wood.

Antique desks normally refer to pieces with a fixed flat surface, very much the same as the modern idea of a desk. Although pieces of simple country design with a fold down writing flap are also called antique desks.

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