17 April 2021




Victorian Oak Pedestal Desks

The pedestal desk first appeared in the 18th century and became increasingly popular during the 19th and 20th century. Victorian oak pedestal desks evolved from the huge library desks found in county houses and their initial use was mainly decorative, being placed against a wall, rather than functional.

Very early versions of the pedestal desk were made in mahogany or walnut and it was almost impossible to get both knees into the space between the two pedestals. The desk derived its name from the two pedestals, one on each side, each of which contained the same combination of drawers. The pedestals were joined by a rectangular flat surface used for writing on which was covered in leather and inlaid with a gold surround, or a baize surface. Sometimes, the top was left without a covering but had a lined pull-out writing drawer or occasionally a folding horse, which acted as a bookrest. There was a large top drawer above the knee space and, sometimes, a “modesty panel” was fitted to prevent the knees being seen by anyone sitting or standing on the opposite side of the desk.

Victorian oak pedestal desks were made in a variety of styles ranging from simple Arts and Crafts design, to neo-classical, through to ornate French Rococo styles after Chippendale’s designs. Some Victorian oak pedestal desk have a cupboard in one pedestal whilst the other contained drawers, which makes this desk ideal for modern use because a computer tower can be concealed in the cupboard. The basic Victorian design consisted of three parts to each desk, two pedestals with a removable flat top that made it easy to transport.

A visit to a specialist retailer will ensure that you benefit from their expertise and knowledge and they will be able to demonstrate genuine antique Victorian oak pedestal desks that will suit your needs.

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