Width: 41 3/4" 106.5cm
Depth: 24 1/2" 62cm
In the 1790s this new form of writing desk emerged. With a curved back and elegant super-structure , it was designed to be moved away from the wall into the centre of a room to be admired from all angles. With this in mind, the high level of finish is consistent throughout the piece and its small scale allows it to be placed in any room.
This example is all the rarer for being of small size and being veneered with West Indian satinwood instead of the more typical mahogany examples. It retains its original pierced brass gallery, handles and castors.
Estate of Julia Hall, Millbrook, NY.
The Grosvenor House Antiques Fair 1973, p.37 an almost identical table in mahogany illustrated.
The Carlton House writing desk is said to have been given its name because the Prince of Wales, later George IV, owned one. He later gave the desk as a present to Admiral Payne; known as ‘Honest Jack’. He was the Prince’s private secretary and the man entrusted to go to Germany and collect his intended bride, Princess Caroline of Brunswick.
Interestingly, in 1796 Gillow supplied a Carlton House desk to the architect John Nash. Nash who would become the Prince’s architect, had recently returned to London to take up a partnership with the celebrated landscape gardener Humphrey Repton. It was Repton who was credited with introducing Nash to the Prince Regent and it is tempting to think that the Prince might have seen Nash’s desk and decided to order one for himself.