A Victorian kidney shaped desk in richly figured burr walnut, attributed to Gillows, the shaped leather-inset top above a central disguised frieze drawer and four drawers with brass handles in each pedestal, the locking mechanism hidden by means of a hinged pilaster, decorated with book matched veneers on the central back panel. English, circa 1860.
The kidney-shaped desk first appeared as a writing or dressing-table during the Louis XV period (1715-1774) in France before being introduced into England in the late 18th century. It evolved to incorporate drawers and often small shelves in the Sheraton period, see ‘The Cabinet Directory’ of 1803. The finest Victorian examples were made by Gillows following the design for ‘An Oak Pedestal and Kidney Table supplied to Ferguson & Co.’ in the ‘Gillows Estimate Sketch Books’ (1840). See Susan E Stuart ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840,’ (ibid), Vol. I, p.339, pl. 393 for a similar walnut desk also stamped and with Bramah locks, which once belonged to the cricket writer Brian Johnston (1912-1994).