Jane Austen writing table and portable writing desk plans

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Forum topic by MindDesigns posted 01-19-2015 05:18 PM 4170 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 2256 days

01-19-2015 05:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello all,

My wife and daughters are huge Jane Austen fans, and I’d like to build replicas of her small writing table and her portable writing desk. Does anyone have suggestions where I can get more information beyond the pictures available on the net? At the very least I’m trying to find dimensions, but a real bonus would be to find any details beyond that. Of course my dream would be to locate plans.


7 replies so far

View Dez's profile


1172 posts in 4930 days

#1 posted 01-19-2015 08:24 PM

Interesting. I read a couple of her books when I was young.
Where have you searched?
I see that the British Library has several pictures and they apparently have her desk. It is a beautiful piece.
Have you tried contacting them to see if they would give you some measurements?
I found several good pictures of the desk with other common writing tools for scale in a search at the search engine

I used the terms – Jane Austen AND portable writing desk

You could probably figure out some measurement from that. Given that paper sizes have changed you might want to start with current paper sizes and work backwards from there.
I hope that helps, good luck!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View HarveyM's profile


117 posts in 2875 days

#2 posted 01-19-2015 10:11 PM

There’s a very rough measured drawing of her writing box here:

-- Just a Duffer

View MindDesigns's profile


17 posts in 2256 days

#3 posted 01-20-2015 02:42 PM

Thank you both for some great ideas and information!

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2721 days

#4 posted 01-21-2015 01:11 PM

Don, this is an excellent idea. I have four daughters who, thanks to my lovely wife, have all become Austenites. When I saw this post, and your idea, I suddenly felt ashamed that I hadn’t thought of this. I’ve been googling, but haven’t found more than photos, and the little rough sketch that Harvey kindly shared. I’ll keep looking, and share anything I find. Not to steal your thunder, but I’d really like to build one for my eldest daughter. She writes profusely.

I’ve got the perfect wide pieces of African mahogany which nearly mimic the grain patterns in the original. Been looking for ideas, and when I read this, the bell went off.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 2964 days

#5 posted 01-21-2015 01:32 PM

As an aside, don’t just let your wives and daughters read Austen. She was an excellent novelist and her books are well worth reading. Might give you an extra bit of motivation while building the table.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2721 days

#6 posted 01-21-2015 11:58 PM

I’ve read a couple. Emma, pride and prejudice. She is among the greatest wordsmiths of all time.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View jmartel's profile


9049 posts in 3003 days

#7 posted 01-22-2015 12:50 AM

It’s not the exact thing, as it’s got more decorative elements in it, but if you pick up a copy of Dennis Zongker’s book Wooden Boxes it has a whole step by step process on how to make a writing desk that operates the same. You can omit whatever you want out of the decorative stuff.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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