Until the middle of the 17th century items of furniture used for writing were often extremely primitive. The first writing furniture specifically designed as such was derived from French and Italian furniture of the 16th century, and took the form of a cabinet (with a fall front) on a chest or stand, with drawers, known today as escritoire. The front of the cabinet could be let down to serve as a writing surface, hence the term "fall-front escritoire".
The escritoire was popular on the Continent of Europe, although not in America, throughout the 18th and well into the 19th century. In England its popularity was fairly short-lived.
|Lady´s escritoire, England, George III|