In spite of frequent allusions to the "lost art of letter-writing," if one may judge by the size of the popular writing-table of the day, and the amount of stationery thereon, letter-writing is by no means on the w?ne among us.
It may be true, and it is much better so, that the obvious has to be omitted in our communications to our friends, and our thoughts have to be condensed into a form for quick digestion, so that a change has come over the nature of our correspondence. Yet the woman who has no outlet for her energies and intelligence in the form of a profession generally engages in some charitable work or hobby to interest her thoughts, and this incidentally involves a good deal of letter-writing.
Hence it is that the knee-hole pedestal table, a handsome version of the ordinary office-table, with an array of small drawers down either side, capable of holding a wonderful amount of papers, is found in so many rooms. It is a boon to the lover of order, for in no other table is it so easy to keep things in a methodical manner.
In beautiful inlaid mahogany it is a costly affair, especially in the "kidney" shape, which is infinitely prettier and more graceful than the straight-fronted pattern. A "kidney-shaped " table of this description will cost about £20, and even more in light satin-wood, which generally looks better in a drawing-room. With a straight front, a pedestal table can be bought for not much more than half this amount in inlaid mahogany.
Another beautiful and popular design is that known as the "Carlton House" table. It is a model of an old one removed from Carlton House, and from the artistic point of view is far better than a pedestal.
" Kidney-shaped" pedestal table of inlaid mahogany, which is more pretty and graceful than the straight'fronted pattern. It makes a handsome addition to either the drawing-room, dining-room or bed-room, and is highly appreciated by the lover
Photos of tidiness Harrods
A great advantage of this table is the tambour top, an eighteenth century vogue, of which the American roll-top desk is a copy on rather different lines. The American cylindrical top has laths of wood threaded on wires, while in the tables made on the old tambour lines they are mounted on canvas. A Carlton House table has also a sliding writing-flap which pulls out when the tambour top is pushed up. A table of this pattern in mahogany can be bought for about £12 10s. In satin-wood, inlaid with king-wood and purple wood, a similar table will cost £20 at least.
Both these types of table are equally suitable for either dining-room or drawing-room, but in small rooms, and especially in flats, something which takes less room is required. Innumerable designs in small tables of this kind are to be obtained for about three or four pounds.
One of these is a combined card and writing-table. It has one long drawer in front, and a smaller one at either side underneath it. When used for writing, the top is covered with leather, but this folds back, and a cloth-covered card-table is discovered. Another good pattern has a drawer in front, and rounded stationery boxes projecting at either end, with lids that fold back, and when shut, look like part of the top of the table.
Where space is specially to be considered, a little inlaid mahogany table with a stationery-box on the top and a letdown flap at either end, is admirable. A bookcase - table, in the style of a bureau, also takes up very little room, and the shelf underneath for holding books is invaluable.
The accessories of the writing-table seem to form a subject in themselves, so numerous are the needs of the modern letter-writer. First of all there is the inkstand, which is still necessary, despite the fact that so many people use fountain or stylographic pens.
A complete silver writing-set, with candlesticks and pen-tray to match, always looks delightful, and is one of the wedding gifts frequently received by fortunate young couples. Quite a small set, with a couple of candlesticks, pen, pencil, and inkstand, can be bought in a case from a guinea upwards. In a larger size, with a pen-tray and sealing-wax holder as well, a set of this kind will cost about four guineas.
A table of the " Carlton House" design. This table possesses a tambour top. It also has a sliding writing-flap, which pulls out when the top is pushed up
Messrs. Bartholomew & Fletcher inkstands, in imitation of old designs, are seen in many drawing-rooms. These crystal inkstands are generally engraved with designs in the Louis XVI. style, and are somewhat costly, quite a small one being priced at about £1, but the fact that they are so easily cleaned is a great advantage. In some rooms, where they accord with the general effect, the inexpensive inkstands of Devonshire pottery look very well.
Next in importance comes the blotting-book. Here a wide choice awaits us. It may be of leather, plain or tooled. Some home leather-workers produce very beautiful and uncommon designs and effects in leather work. Buhl, that beautiful inlay of gold and tortoiseshell, is a fashion that has been revived for blotters and stationery sets. The blotting-pad is, however, on the whole, more used than the blotting-book. Some of the best
This charming blotting'dabber of embroidered linen can be made a: trifling cost, and with little expenditure of time of these have leather backs and plain silver corners, and may be purchased for a guinea. The blotting-dabber is a further accessory of modern times that is extremely useful. A charming little dabber of embroidered linen can be made at home in the following fashion. Cut two pieces of linen measuring 5 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches, and embroider one, which is to form the top. Then face the two and machine them together at the edges, except on one side. Put on this a couple of layers of cotton-wool, turn it inside out, and sew up the open end. Now cut two pieces of linen to form the handle, measuring 6 3/4 inches by 3 inches, and embroider one down the centre, which, when the handle is filled with a little roll of wool, will come on the top. Turn in the raw edges, and slip-stitch them together, and then stitch the handle firmly on to the little pad. Cut several pieces of blotting-paper of the same size as the pad, and, to keep them in place, thrust a staple pin through from the top of the pad at each corner.
An excellent tassel penwiper can be made as follows: Cut two cards 6 1/2 inches long, and wind a ball of knitting silk around them. Tie one end and cut the other, and remove the cards. Then tie the centre securely, and sew round it a small piece of gold or silver furniture galon. Now cut the other end, level both ends with the scissors, and your charming little penwiper is finished.
A tassel penwiper, consisting only of two tassels of silk, passed through a galon band, which forms the centre. It is one of the most useful accessories to keep on the writing-table, and costs very little if made at home The following are good firms for supplying materials, etc.. mentioned in this Section: Messrs. The Godiva Carriage Co. (Baby Cars);
Thomas Keating (Keating's Powder).