18th Century Desk Design (The Antiques Dictionary) Taken from Antiques directory By Judith & Martin Miller
A structural change occurred during the early 18th century in the design of bureau. It had been customary for the fall front to open to a concealed document compartment or well, which can be seen as a blank space on the front of the desk between the top edge of the fall (seen examples 1 &2). Sometimes decorated as a dummy drawer, this space was soon utilized as a fourth drawer at the expense of the wall.
Another change concerned the feet, which became either ogee brackets, of cabriole legs with claw and ball feet, or chunky square edged brackets, though by the end of the 18th century the splay French foot had gained considerable popularity (see example 3).
American desks of Queen Anne and Chippendale periods resemble very closely their English counterparts in design if not in materials though there is one important exception—the block front. This was from Dutch origin. See examples 4 &5
Example 1: William and Mary slant front 1710,
Example 2: A curly maple slant front 1720 Example
3: Federal mahogany veneer 1790
Example 4 Queen Anne inlaid walnut 1740 Example 5 Chippendale walnut slate front desk 1780