The advent of the laptop computer and the mobile office forced many to move away from personal touches when it came to their workplace environment. Fortunately, in recent years more companies are accepting telecommuting and there has been a move to create retro or vintage office decor. From turn of the century to shabby chic, designers and office professionals are looking for unique design elements to give their office some flair and also develop a more creative work environment.

In this Five for Friday installment there are a handful of desk sets available in upcoming auctions that can capture the imagination and also create an air of importance:

In the May 25 20th Century Design Featuring Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Auction there are four sets available including:

 1.  A Seven-Piece Art and Crafts-Style Brass Desk Set from the early 20th century. (est. $100-200)

This set comes from the office of George Wood (1840-1917) who was among thousands of talented British glassworkers who emigrated to the United States in the second half of the 19th century seeking new opportunities. In the 1880’s Wood was employed by Tiffany Studios, became a master craftsman in stained glass work, and even served as a model for a window installed in the Masonic Lodge in Utica, New York. The collection includes several Tiffany works Mr. Wood appears to have salvaged from the Studios and worked on himself, using pieces of Tiffany glass and elements from lighting. The result, a century after his death, is a rare trove of artisanal work, lacking the stamp of Tiffany but made with the skill and spirit of the age.

2.  An 11-Piece Tiffany Studios Gilt Bronze Zodiac Desk Set circa 1900 (est. $1,500-2,500).

The group includes a pair of bookends, an inkwell, a blotter, four blotter pad corners, a folding notepad, and a pen wipe without the bristle pad.  The popular zodiac pattern range of desk accessories features rustic, low relief medallions with zodiac symbols and borders of intertwined bands.

3.  A Five-Piece Austrian Jugendstil Brass, Bronze, and Copper Desk Set circa 1905 (est. $300-500). 

The set with lily pad and sinuous line decorations includes a footed tray, inkwell tray with pen rest, a blotter, letter openers and paperweight.

4.  Ten Roycroft Arts & Crafts Copper Desk Items circa 1915-20 (est. $400-500). 

The group includes a candlestick, letter rack, two pairs of bookends and a four-piece coaster set. The work produced by the Roycroft community had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century.

The final installment will be available in the June 10-11 Fine and Decorative Arts Including Estates Auction.

5.  A French Marble and Gilt Bronze Figural Desk Set, circa late 19th century (est. $500-700). 

The desk set having gilt bronze bust of Napoleon flanked by two lidded well with eagle finials, carved marble base on toupie feet, with two blotters of conforming design.

Written by: Elon Werner

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