Antiques – The writing bureau

Auctions
• John Taylors, Louth. Antiques, collectables and household, Tues June 26th, 10am.
• Batemans, Stamford. General and modern household, Friday June 1st, 2pm Fine art, antiques and collectables, Sat June 2nd, 10am.
• Thos. Mawer & Son, Lincoln. Antiques, collectables and general furniture, Wed June 20th, 10am.
• Robert Bell & Co, Horncastle. General household furniture and effects, Wed June 27th, 10am.
• CJM Asset Management, Scunthorpe. Antique and modern furnishings, homewares and collectables, Sat June 30th, 12 noon.


Words by:
William Gregory MRICS, Golding Young and Thos Mawer
Featured in:
June 2012

As the collectors and art markets have blazed away, furniture buyers have been selective, leaving the writing bureau at the bottom of their lists.
Reasons are often given as to the change in fashions, and the writing bureau has been derided as being unable to keep up with technology. Computers dominate the office and study, and with most earlier models being the size of a television there was not enough room on a bureau, so the practical computer buff moved to a flat top desk to accommodate the hard drive, monitor and keyboard. The Georgian mahogany bureau, solid in its appearance, decorated with boxwood stringing, fitted interiors of drawers and secret compartments, and once the proud recipient of a four-figure bid at auction, soon found a few hands prepared to be raised past a few hundred pounds. The bottom of the market may have been reached. Personal computers are now smaller than ever and even sunk into tablet form and telephone. The modern laptop with wireless connection can easily be used on a writing bureau. The antique look, along with modern day convenience, may bring writing bureaux back into the twenty-first century.

Prices recently achieved at auction:
An early nineteenth century mahogany and marquetry bureau, the top and fall inlaid with flowers above four graduated drawers on bracket feet – SOLD £750
A William and Mary Walnut bureau, crossbanded and herringbone inlaid, serpentine interior, raised on bracket feet – SOLD £4200
A George III mahogany bureau bookcase with broken arch pediment – SOLD £440



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