Carlton House desk

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A Carlton House desk is a specific antique desk form within the more general bureau à gradin form. This specific form is supposed to have been designed in the 18th century for the Prince of Wales (who later became George IV) by George Hepplewhite. It is named after Carlton House, which was at the time the London residence of the Prince of Wales. This kind of desk is sometimes also known as a Carlton House writing table.

A richly decorated version of a Carlton house desk

The desk is like a normal writing table but the small drawers above the surface form a "U" shape around the user instead of being merely set up in front of him as is usual in a typical bureau à gradin. Unlike other types of bureau à gradin the Carlton House desk usually offers no pigeonholes. There are usually small slopes over the two desktop drawers at the left and right ends of the "U" shape.

Drawings of this type of desk were presented by Hepplewhite in his famous design book the Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers Guide and by Thomas Sheraton in his own famous book of designs, The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, thus ensuring its popularity.

See also the list of desk forms and types.


  • Aronson, Joseph. The Encyclopedia of Furniture. 3rd ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1966.
  • Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 1991.
  • Nickerson, David. English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1963.