08 August 2012

Inspirational Desks

George Bernard Shaw's Desk
Jane Austen's Writing Table

Vita Sackville-West's desk at Sissinghurst
Today, for your viewing and contemplating pleasure, I present the beautiful and inspiring desks of 3 famous writers, and one unknown one.  Like many of you, (judging by the incredibly high occurence of these images on Google...!) I find these images to be dense with warmth and humanity. What is it about these arrangements of desks and objects that resonates for us when most of our communications take place electronically?

I find that these special spaces have even more meaning now, perhaps because of their scarcity, perhaps because they represent a more physical connection between people than is the norm in contemporary life. Although less common, the act of sitting at a beautiful desk (or at a tiny table as in the case of Jane Austen!) to thoughtfully compose a note to a dear friend or loved one is still a deeply fulfilling one. The simple act of putting pen to paper seems so much more poingnant now, and I'm convinced that my poor handwriting adds a certain sincere tone impossible to attain with emoticons in a text or email. 

My 19thC French Writing desk

Above is a view of one of my desks (I am of the opinion that there should be a desk in every room!).  I collect antique desk accessories, and in this photo, some of my prized and well used possessions are visible:  an early 19th century English writing box, a 19th Century Sterling and crystal inkwell, an early 19th century ivory and silver magnifier, and my writing companion, an antique ivory netsuke.  At the center is a petite desk blotter made by our bindery, which suits this small space perfectly,with pockets to hold my stamps and notes, and which folds closed when not in use. To the left of the blotter, a small arrangement of flowers is barely visible, which is, like my desk accessories, a critical aesthetic ingredient to thoughtful writing. Even if the only flowers available are weeds from the garden, I find having a small posy at my desk to be a pleasing experience, and selecting and arranging the flowers every few days hints at the fruitful correspondence to come.   

If you have photos of you own writing desk to share, please email them to info@parvumopus.com and I'll include them here.

If you'd like more information on custom desk accessories by our bindery, Parvum Opus, we invite you to email us at info@parvumopus.com or visit our main website: www.parvumopus.com 

The Ruffnerian's Desk
Parvum Opus thanks Mark D. Ruffner for sharing this photo of his exquisite roll top desk-- inspirational, indeed!  I'd also like to enthusiastically recommend his blog, All Things Ruffnerian, A Design Blog and More.  The "more" is an understatement-- I'm behind on my work because I've been so happily distracted by reading posts on topics as varied as antique ephemera, Napoleon, Eames, Il Papiro... the list goes on and on. Below I've included a link to a wonderful post on a painting by Mr. Ruffner's father.... enjoy, and prepare yourselves for the inevitable but thoroughly worthwhile distraction!



  1. Your very fine photography shows your accessories to good effect. I am including a photo of my own rolltop desk, but I have to admit that I do all my writing seated on the living room sofa!

    1. Thank you, Mark for your kind words and your wonderful contribution to my new blog. Your desk and desk objects are beautiful-- I'm currently searching for an antique roll top for my home, and so I am green with envy! Is that Socrates gazing down on you as you work? Along with the music from you stereo, I think it must be an inspirational spot, indeed. However, I completely understand the lure of the sofa-- I often find myself on the sofa in my sunroom with my laptop and a cat or two... Quite cozy in its own way!

  2. Congratulations on your new blog! Lovely to look at, very wonderful subject matter! Susan

  3. Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your visit and your kind words. I hope you'll join us again as we examine all things desk-ish!

    Best regards,