Victorian Writing Desks: Insights, Tips, and Examples

If you’re a fan of Victorian furniture, then you’re probably familiar with the iconic Victorian writing desk. These desks were a staple in Victorian-era homes and offices, serving as a place to write, read, and work.

In this blog post, we’ll explore various aspects of Victorian writing desks, including their designs, styles, accessories, and more. We’ll also answer several key questions related to Victorian desks and provide practical tips for anyone looking to purchase or use one today.

What Were Victorian Desks Like?

Victorian desks were typically made of wood and designed to be both functional and ornate. They ranged in size from small writing desks meant for ladies to larger executive desks used in offices.

The styles of Victorian desks varied depending on the time period and individual tastes. Some were more ornate and decorative, while others had a simpler, more streamlined design. Many featured intricate carvings, curved lines, and elegant finishes.

One of the most popular types of Victorian writing desks was the secretary desk. This style had a hinged writing surface that could be folded up to reveal storage compartments and small drawers. The desk often had a glass-fronted bookcase or cabinet on top, adding more storage options to the design.

What is a Writing Desk Also Called?

A writing desk is also commonly known as a secretary desk or a bureau desk. These terms all refer to a desk that has a sloping top, which can be raised and lowered for writing.

Another term for a writing desk is an escritoire. This term is often used to describe a small, decorative desk that is meant for letter writing.

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Victorian Ladies Writing Desk

Victorian ladies writing desks were designed to be smaller and more decorative than the larger, more utilitarian desks used by men. These desks often featured delicate finishes, such as floral patterns or gold leaf accents.

They were sometimes called boudoir desks, as they were meant to be kept in a private space, such as a lady’s bedroom or dressing room. Victorian ladies writing desks were used for writing letters, keeping a diary, or even conducting business transactions.

Victorian Doll House Desk

A Victorian doll house desk is a smaller version of a Victorian writing desk that is meant for use by dolls or other miniature figures. These desks often feature the same ornate design elements found in full-sized Victorian desks, including carved details and intricate finishes.

Victorian doll house desks can be found in toy stores and specialty shops, and are a popular item among collectors of doll house furniture.

Victorian Desk Accessories

Victorian desks were often accompanied by various accessories that were designed to enhance their functionality and aesthetic appeal. Some common Victorian desk accessories include:

  • Inkwells: Small containers used to hold ink for writing.
  • Pen Holders: Containers used to hold pens and pencils.
  • Blotters: Pads of paper or cloth used to absorb excess ink.
  • Letter Openers: Small knives used to open envelopes.
  • Desk Sets: A collection of desk accessories that often included a pen tray, inkwell, and letter opener.

Antique Writing Desk

An antique writing desk is any desk that is over 100 years old. These desks can range in style and design, but are typically made of wood and have an ornate or decorative finish.

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Antique writing desks are popular among collectors and antique enthusiasts, and can be found at antique stores, auctions, and online marketplaces.

What is an Old Fashioned Writing Desk Called?

An old fashioned writing desk is simply another term for a writing desk that has a traditional or classic design. These desks often feature ornate finishes and curved lines, and can be made of various woods, such as oak or mahogany.

What are Vintage Desks Called?

A vintage desk is any desk that is over 20 years old. These desks can range in style and design, and may or may not be considered antique, depending on their age.

Some popular styles of vintage desks include mid-century modern, Art Deco, and industrial. These desks are often sought after by collectors and interior designers for their unique style and history.

Victorian Secretary Desk

As mentioned earlier, the Victorian secretary desk was a popular style of writing desk in the Victorian era. This desk featured a hinged writing surface that could be raised and lowered, as well as storage compartments and drawers for keeping papers and other items organized.

The Victorian secretary desk was often made of wood and featured intricate carvings and finishes. It was a popular piece of furniture in both homes and offices during the Victorian era and remains a sought-after item among antique enthusiasts today.

Tips for Purchasing and Using a Victorian Writing Desk

If you’re interested in purchasing or using a Victorian writing desk, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Consider the desk’s size and style: Make sure the desk fits the space where you plan to use it and matches your personal style preferences.
  • Check for damage: Look for any cracks, scratches, or other damage that may affect the desk’s functionality or value.
  • Look for original features: If you’re interested in purchasing an antique or vintage writing desk, check to see if it still has its original features, such as inkwells or desk sets.
  • Use the desk for its intended purpose: While Victorian writing desks can make beautiful decorative pieces, they were designed to be used for writing and work. Make sure to take advantage of its functionality and use it for its intended purpose.
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Victorian writing desks are an iconic piece of furniture that bring a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space. Whether you’re looking for a small ladies writing desk or a larger executive desk, there are plenty of options available to suit your style and needs. By following our tips and considerations, you can find the right Victorian writing desk for your home or office and enjoy its beauty and functionality for years to come.