Bureaux & Davenport
The writing bureau is a beautiful piece of furniture often with cupboards, drawers, cubbyholes, pigeonholes to store letters, envelopes and pens amongst other belongings and a secret compartment to allow one to hide documents. Bureaus have fold out desks that are hinged to provide a flat writing surface which is supported by two extendable arms. The surface is often inlaid with leather or felt. The bureau evolved in the late 17th C from portable boxes with sloping lids that were used as a writing surface. Made during the William and Mary period, the bureau had added space and storage By the 18th C the bureau had incorporated a desk with a chest of drawers. Georgian bureau tend to be larger in size than the Edwardian and 19th Century ladies writing bureau, which were a more delicate, attractive piece and were sometimes used as a dressing table. A glazed top section to the bureau would sometimes be secured to the base to create space for books, thus the evolution of the bureau bookcase. The Davenport became fashionable during the Sheraton period, it is thought that a Captain Davenport commissioned the first example. Antique davenports have a sloping writing section that sits above a case of drawers. Often the leather writing slope would pull out to form a kneehole. Normally on casters they were easily moved which was important, especially during the Regency era.