A writing table (French bureau plat) has a series of drawers directly under the surface of the table, to contain writing implements, so that it may serve as a desk. Antique versions have the usual divisions for the inkwell, the blotter and the sand or powder tray in one of the drawers, and a surface covered with leather or some other material less hostile to the quill or the fountain pen than simple hard wood.
In form, a writing table is a pedestal desk without the pedestals, having legs instead to hold it up. This is why such tables are sometimes called leg desks.
The writing table is often called a "bureau plat" when it is done in a French style such as Louis XVI, Art Nouveau, etc. When a writing table is supported by two legs instead of four, it is usually called a trestle desk.
The writing table is also sometimes called a library table, because it was often placed in a rich individual's library. This was the room in a house where a gentleman would keep literature and also do his business transactions. The library often housed, in addition, a round desk called a rent table and sometimes a drawing table. The term library table is sometimes applied indiscriminately to a wide variety of desk forms, in addition to being used for writing tables. Let the scholar or the buyer be wary.
Some writing tables have additional drawers built above the surface. In this case they are often called bureau à gradin instead of writing table, unless they have a more specific form, such as that of a Carlton House desk.
A reading and writing table with an easel or double easel for books that was adjustable on a ratchet and a drawer fitted for writing implements was a mid-18th century English invention that lasted as long as the habit endured of reading while standing.
As with many other desk forms antique writing tables were sometimes built with what was, at the time, a complex mechanism of gears and levers to make sections slide out or pop up when certain panels were pulled. In this case, one sometimes called them a mechanical desk.
Other articles related to "writing table, writing":
... The fire screen desk (also known as a screen writing table) was a very small antique desk meant to be placed in front of a fireplace to keep a user's feet warm while he or she was stationary while writing ... exposed to the heat from the fire, the fire screen desk usually had the form of a miniature writing table or a tiny bureau à gradin, with just a few drawers beneath the desktop ... desks were frequently called a gentleman's screen writing table or a lady's screen writing table ...
Famous quotes containing the words table and/or writing:
“In New York, pretending to be above the struggle means no seat on the bus and a table next to the kitchen.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)
“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.”
—Elie Wiesel (b. 1928)