Writing desks of the 18th century took a number of different forms. Due to the increasing role of consumer demand and corresponding trends in product development, desks could be made in almost any form and for various hybrid purposes. The desk made for Marie Antoinette in the Tessé Room, for instance, was designed to be used for eating, dressing, and reading and writing while seated or standing. But such desks were not just reserved for purchase by royalty and the aristocracy. The introduction of shopping in Paris made writing desks available to people with lower budgets. At one shop, prices varied between 48 to over a thousand livres. Personal choice among options became a key component of the furniture-buying and furniture-making experience.
André Jacob Roubo’s L’Art du Menuisier detailed the plans of various kinds of writing desks and how they functioned. Click through to see detailed images of different writing desk types.