Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

  1. #1
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    2,398
    Thanks
    476
    Thanked 2,379 Times in 1,012 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    This caught my eye when touring Hyde Hall (on Lake Otsego, upstate New York USA).

    Last edited by FredRydr; June 23rd, 2019 at 08:11 PM. Reason: added link

  2. The Following 20 Users Say Thank You to FredRydr For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked

    Ahriman4891 (June 25th, 2019), AzJon (June 27th, 2019), BlkWhiteFilmPix (June 28th, 2019), calamus (June 24th, 2019), carlos.q (June 23rd, 2019), catbert (June 23rd, 2019), ChrisJ (June 24th, 2019), countrydirt (June 23rd, 2019), Deb (June 23rd, 2019), dfo (June 23rd, 2019), ethernautrix (June 24th, 2019), fountainpagan (June 24th, 2019), jacksterp (June 28th, 2019), jbb (June 23rd, 2019), junglejim (June 24th, 2019), Lady Onogaro (June 23rd, 2019), Marsilius (June 27th, 2019), NibsForScript (June 27th, 2019), Robert (June 23rd, 2019), Sailor Kenshin (June 23rd, 2019)

  3. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    31
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 55 Times in 13 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Beautiful

  4. #3
    Senior Member dfo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Somewhere in the hills of eastern Washington
    Posts
    311
    Thanks
    380
    Thanked 234 Times in 125 Posts
    Rep Power
    4

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    What a fascinating shape. Is that marble on the top?
    "Love is the final fight."

  5. #4
    Senior Member jbb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    654
    Thanks
    245
    Thanked 535 Times in 216 Posts
    Rep Power
    7

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Nice!!!
    JBBPensPaper an Etsy store

  6. #5
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    2,398
    Thanks
    476
    Thanked 2,379 Times in 1,012 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Quote Originally Posted by dfo View Post
    What a fascinating shape. Is that marble on the top?
    I checked a second photo, and I believe it is but cannot imagine what the purpose would be.

    IMG_2220.jpg

  7. #6
    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,728
    Thanks
    351
    Thanked 1,291 Times in 575 Posts
    Rep Power
    7

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    I checked a second photo, and I believe it is but cannot imagine what the purpose would be.
    Candles - so they don't drip or burn the wood.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Empty_of_Clouds For This Useful Post:

    LeFreak (June 27th, 2019)

  9. #7
    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Land of Po
    Posts
    860
    Thanks
    1,305
    Thanked 930 Times in 413 Posts
    Rep Power
    7

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Might be a counter-weight so's the desk doesn't topple over on you as you're writing.

    That is one sweet desk. Perfect for those living in small apartments (such as myself).
    _____________
    To Miasto

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to ethernautrix For This Useful Post:

    LeFreak (June 27th, 2019)

  11. #8
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    2,398
    Thanks
    476
    Thanked 2,379 Times in 1,012 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Here's the answer:

    Good morning, Fred:

    The lady’s writing desk is attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe in New York City and dates to around 1830-1840. It is in the French Restauration taste and comes from a generous donor who has a home close to Albany, so it has no connection to Hyde Hall or its original contents. Nevertheless it is typical of the kind of quality furnishings you would find in a house like this, especially with several ladies living here.

    The marble slab has no real purpose other than being decorative. You will see marble tops on many French desks from the period, especially the secretaire a abattant, another version of the fall-front desk that was very popular in France and Germany, with some also being made in the United States by craftspeople like Phyfe. Phyfe and other Phyfe-school makers such as Michael Allison used marble tops on dressers, desks, and pier tables in the French Empire style as well as in the American classical and French Restauration style furniture that they produced.

    Thank you for your interest in this desk and thank you for visiting Hyde Hall. We are making many improvements and hope you will return to see the changes sometime soon.

    Regards,

    Jon

    Jonathan Maney
    Executive Director & C.E.O.
    Hyde Hall, Inc.
    607-547-5098 x3
    607-242-9590 (cell)
    jonathanmaney@hydehall.org
    www.hydehall.org

  12. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to FredRydr For This Useful Post:

    BlkWhiteFilmPix (June 28th, 2019), carlos.q (June 27th, 2019), Dreck (June 27th, 2019), LeFreak (June 27th, 2019), Marsilius (June 27th, 2019)

  13. #9
    Senior Member manoeuver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Near Midwest, US
    Posts
    1,141
    Thanks
    350
    Thanked 472 Times in 224 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Marble tops were used to hold the desk down on the floor. This was prior to the 1874 gravity adjustment that increased indoor gravity to parity with outdoor gravity.

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to manoeuver For This Useful Post:

    azkid (June 27th, 2019), Deb (June 27th, 2019)

  15. #10
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    2,398
    Thanks
    476
    Thanked 2,379 Times in 1,012 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    Marble tops were used to hold the desk down on the floor. This was prior to the 1874 gravity adjustment that increased indoor gravity to parity with outdoor gravity.
    Lava on the floor didn't enter into it?

    Not knowing the term used by Mr. Maney, I looked at images of secretaire a abattant and found the marble tops were thinner with chamfered edges. I suspect the original top was dropped and broken, so the owner plopped that thick unadorned slab in its place.

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to FredRydr For This Useful Post:

    LeFreak (June 27th, 2019)

  17. #11
    Senior Member Marsilius's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    671
    Thanks
    2,624
    Thanked 489 Times in 245 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    I grew up in a house with lots of old furniture with marble tops, including vanities and dressers. Under the marble was just the open space for the drawers, NOT a wooden surface below. Ornamental to be sure, but I get the sense that the marble took standard things like moisture and toiletries better than the oak or veneer would have. Never though of that possibility until this thread. Marble does crack, though.
    Fortibus es in ero

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to Marsilius For This Useful Post:

    LeFreak (June 27th, 2019)

  19. #12
    Member LeFreak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    48
    Thanks
    31
    Thanked 14 Times in 12 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: 19th century ”skinny” writing desk

    Lovely piece.

    I'm a huge fan of Duncan Phyfe. One of my favorite possessions is a Duncan Phyfe coffee table with inlaid burl wood.
    wasting time on tapatalk

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •