TAKE A LETTER
A series of Austen films inspire this bold design.
SHOP OWNER: Alan Young
LOCATION: Ypsilanti, MI
It all started innocently enough when my wife, Eileen, was watching a video and said, “Hey Alan look at that table”. I casually entered the room and looked at the TV and was struck by the elegant period furnishings in the movie she was watching. It turned out to be “Sense and Sensibility” with Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Hugh Grant. So I finished watching the show… to see the great furniture! A little later on, "Mansfield Park" turned up at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. I didn't even know it was a Jane Austen story at the time. Hey, I didn't really know who Jane Austen was, but one look at the previews and I knew Eileen would like that movie so off we went. Then my dear wife obtained the new version of “Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightly and Donald Sutherland and I watched that too. Finally, we watched the entire Austen series offered up on PBS.
Seeing all those Jane Austen films made me think how challenging it would be to design and build a piece that might sit well in at least one modest room in one of those stories. I decided on a Writing Desk as per the situation of Fitzwilliam Darcy. The design is not a reproduction of any particular piece, but I'll say that my goal was to produce a piece that has the look and feel of something you might find in one of those settings.
The desk is made from walnut, walnut veneer, and sapele. Gilded carvings, edge treatments, and moldings dominate the design. Let's take a tour around the desk and view its features from all four sides.
The front of the desk features a drawer with a gilded tambour in the center and carved pulls with an inset gilded dowel frame. The drawer itself sits in a gilded frame. Turned and fluted legs support the carcass. Above each leg is a shield with a gilded carving.
The corners of the desk feature a double curved panel in a bold supported framework. The panel features an inlaid design.
A walnut veneered panel in a molded frame make up the sides along with gilded scroll and arrow carvings.
The rear corners have a gilded carving of a writing feather atop the turned, fluted, and gilded leg.
The rear of the desk is comprised of three veneered panels in molded frames. Gilded arrow carvings encircle the framework.
The sapele top features a number of gilded inlaid carvings in the corners and along the edges.
. . . Alan Young