Advanced Search

Writing Desk

Date: 1700-1705, with later alterations
30 1/8 x 74 1/4 x 35 5/16 in. (76.5 x 188.6 x 89.7 cm.)
Medium: solid oak and walnut carcase veneered with purplewood; brass stringing; gilt bronze mounts; modern leather top
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Object Number: 25.12
Label Text:The fact that this desk has a relatively simple decoration suggests that it was probably commissioned or purchased by an aristocratic or professional patron rather than the royal crown. Strongly associated with masculine pursuits like business, writing, and study, bureaux plats like this often appear in portraits of men, and to a lesser extent of women, who sought to identify themselves as learned, worldly, and competent. Their sheer size, compared to the smaller, more delicate “women’s” desks (like the highly decorative mechanical table nearby), also endowed their users with a degree of monumentality.
In Collection(s)