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In the early 17th century, the bureau plat was designed in France, as a simple flat table with drawers. This soon evolved and by the end of Louis XIV’s reign, tiered drawers surrounded each side with a singular drawer above the knees in the centre, with a sloping surface.

English design followed after Charles II reign, as bureaus were widely described as ‘common desks with drawers under them’. By the 1690s, the bureau represented a combination of two furnitures; a chest of drawers and a desk, which became exceedingly popular during Queen Anne’s reign. Often combined with an array of features such as small drawers, pigeon holes and sliding bookends, the bureau became more established during the Georgian period, which may have included cock beading and a mahogany or oak hinged fall front. Victorian and Edwardian designs later included particularly decorative floral inlays.


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In the early 17th century, the bureau plat was designed in France, as a simple flat table with drawers. This soon evolved and by the end of Louis XIV’s reign, tiered drawers surrounded each side with a singular drawer above the knees in the centre, with a sloping surface.

English design followed after Charles II reign, as bureaus were widely described as ‘common desks with drawers under them’. By the 1690s, the bureau represented a combination of two furnitures; a chest of drawers and a desk, which became exceedingly popular during Queen Anne’s reign. Often combined with an array of features such as small drawers, pigeon holes and sliding bookends, the bureau became more established during the Georgian period, which may have included cock beading and a mahogany or oak hinged fall front. Victorian and Edwardian designs later included particularly decorative floral inlays.