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Bureau table

Bureau table

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1710-1720 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pine and oak, veneered with walnut, with brass handles and escutcheons

  • Museum number:

    W.35:1 to 9-1937

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Small bureau tables with a kneehole and drawers down each side were introduced in the late 17th century, and may have been used, particularly by women, for both writing and dressing. This example dates from about 1715. It is constructed in oak and pine, veneered in walnut, the drawers defined by strips of cross-banding with narrow rounded mouldings around the edges. Its small size, less than 80 centimetres wide, was suitable for the smaller rooms of urban Georgian houses. Although later known as a desk, in the 18th century this type of furniture was called a bureau or writing table.

Physical description

Kneehole desk, veneered in walnut, with one long drawer at the top and three drawers on either side below, each deeper than the one above. The top surface is veneered with four sheets of veneer, matched. The top drawer has four sheets of veneer. Supported on bracket feet. There is no sign that these are not the original feet, although the feet are much repaired. In the knee recess is a cupboard with a shelf. The carcase is in pine; drawer-linings are made of oak. Brass loop handles are attached to shaped brass escutcheons. The drawer-fronts are outlined in chevron cross-banding. The top handle and plate, and those on the lower two drawers on each side appear to be original, although the locks may be replacements because scoring lines indicate that narrower locks were intended.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1710-1720 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Pine and oak, veneered with walnut, with brass handles and escutcheons


Height: 74.5 cm, Width: 78.5 cm, Depth: 46.5 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Mallett & Son, 1937. On loan to Bury St Edmunds, 1956-1959. Loan to Valentine's Mansion, London Borough of Redbridge, 2009

Historical significance: This is good example of a simple walnut-veneered knee-hole desk.

Previously on long-term loan to Valentines Mansion and Garden, Ilford, Redbridge 2009-2014 [RF 2008/536].

Descriptive line

Small kneehole desk veneered in walnut, on bracket feet, with brass loop handles


Pine; Oak; Walnut; Brass






Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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