A Burr Walnut Kidney Shaped Desk

Height: 29 1/2" 75cm
Width: 52 " 132cm
Depth: 31 ½ " 80cm
Origination: English
Circa: 1850

As Thomas Sheraton ‘delicately’ puts it, the shape is so called “on account of its resemblance to that intestine part of animals.” In his ‘The Cabinet Directory’ of 1803, he says “some are made for writing and reading at with piers of draws at either end. Others are made for ladies’ work tables with only a shallow draw under the top.”

As this suggests, the desk is certainly versatile and without doubt it is also one of the most appealing forms of furniture. The fact it looks interesting from all angles enables it to be placed in any orientation, allowing great flexibility in its use. In the past, clients have found homes for them in a library, an entrance hall, a bay window in a sitting room and in a bedroom.

The best examples tend to be in burr walnut and like this one, have shelves on the back. Although the quality can vary, this desk is amongst the finest. It is stamped with the name James Winter & Son, who were known to be retailers rather than cabinet makers so, bearing in mind its quality, the most likely maker is Gillow.

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