18th Century Architect’s Desk


“Are you kidding me?” These are the exact words that came to my mind when this piece was pulled out of an SUV in the parking lot at our shop. This piece is in outstanding condition. These pictures do not do this piece justice at all. The deep rich mahogany is wonderful! The complexity of this piece reflects the highest level of skill. “WOW” just doesn’t seem to be adequate.

An extremely rare architect’s desk from the mid-18th century. Made out of mahogany, the deep richness of the wood is very pleasing. The top is made out of beautiful mahogany.  When closed, the desk is almost unassuming. However, once one starts opening it, the desk comes to life. First, the top lifts and has 4 adjustable positions. Furthermore, the paper rest pops out on the top. This is all original. However, the mechanism that moves the paper rest in and out was replaced somewhere between 1890-1910. The wood is all original.

Second, the front drawer slides out with the front leg facings. This reveals a green felt writing surface. Look closely and one will see there are 3 slits and a tab attached to the center portion of the surface. This lifts to reveal a fitted interior. Additionally, the felt surface can slide backwards to provide a second access point to the fitted interior! Inside this area are 2 hidden drawers! On the side of this “drawer” is an ink compartment that is in the shape of a quarter of a circle. It even has ink stains in it! As if this isn’t enough, examine each side of the piece and one will find the original candle stick holders! These are adjustable and provided the user with the ability to work at night. The fact that these are the original ones is simply outstanding. The only real repairs on this piece are in this area. The two front, slide out legs were broken at some point. They were repaired and are strong and functional. I did include pictures of both of them. The damage doesn’t look near as bad in person.

Lastly, there are the legs! Each leg is turned with two piece of straight mahogany protecting the exterior sides. This detail is seen in early Chippendale. The stretcher and top edges are molded. All of the hardware appears to be original except for the bail and its posts on the front drawer. Overall, it is 35 ½” wide, 23 5/8” deep, and 31 3/8” tall when closed.  When opened, the drawer adds 16” to the depth and the candle stick holders add 8 ½” in width. It is 47” tall when the top is at its zenith. 

In the end, this is an amazing piece. It is the only one we have ever had the opportunity to own. It is a masterpiece.

English. Circa 1755-65.

Price: $6950

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