All furniture has a history, even if it’s not something many of us think about every day. One piece of furniture that has a particularly interesting origin is the partners desk, with one particular model being the most famous piece of furniture in the world.
Here we will be talking about what a partners desk is, its rich and interesting history, and why it is still a popular piece for the home office today.
What is a partners desk?
A partners desk is a style of large antique desk. Imagine two pedestal desks joined back-to-back, with drawers and cupboards on both sides to create a large working area. This means two people can work opposite each other at the same desk.
This type of desk originated in the UK during the Georgian period to allow banking partners to sit and work closely with each other while still enjoying the prestigious status of a pedestal desk. Partners desks were also adopted by law offices where they were used by solicitor partners or by solicitors and their clients.
Traditionally, partners desks are made from a high-quality hardwood such as mahogany, with brass fittings and a leather insert worksurface. Modern partners desks today tend to be a little slimmer but are still plenty spacious with ample storage.
The famous partners desk
Despite the desk’s original purpose to seat two people, arguably the most famous example of a partners desk seats just one very important person.
The Resolute Desk is the elaborately carved desk in the Oval Office that the President of the United States sits at. This desk was originally gifted to the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B Hayes, in 1880 by Queen Victoria.
The wood that makes up the Resolute Desk comes from the oak timbers of the HMS Resolute, a British Arctic exploration ship that became trapped in ice and was abandoned in a Canadian Arctic waterway during its search for Sir John Franklin’s missing expedition.
The abandoned ship was found by an American whaling ship, taken back to America, and repaired before being returned to Queen Victoria as a gesture of goodwill during a turbulent time of US-UK relations.
As a token of gratitude, once the HMS Resolute was decommissioned over 20 years later, its timbers were used by skilled joiner William Evenden to create the Resolute Desk. This was then gifted to then-President Rutherford B Hayes and marked a significant step forward in the partnership between the two countries that we now have.
What are the different styles of partners desks?
Partners desks come with a few different options when it comes to shape, wood type and style, but we prefer the authentic Georgian styling of a traditional mahogany partners desk. The pedestals can contain either traditional drawers, filing drawers or cupboards on both sides.
Our mahogany partners desks here at AKD also come in a range of different finishes and with coloured leather insert choices, meaning the perfect combination can be created to suit the décor of any home office. While brass handles are traditional, partners desks are also available with rounded wood handles instead.
Should you get a partners desk for your home office?
A partners desk is a great addition to any home office that can accommodate it. They are striking pieces of furniture that exemplify quality and status. Partners desks look great from all angles and are also designed to be positioned away from the walls, which provides you with more options when it comes to placement and storage.
From a practicality standpoint, partners desks also allow you to share the desk with someone else which, despite the size of the unit, can save you space. Partners desks also come with more built-in storage than other types of desks, which means you won’t need as many additional storage units.
Do you think a partners desk could be the right fit for your home office? If so, you can take a look at our exceptional handmade partners desks here.