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Published by Shire Publications. ISBN 0747805032. £4.50.

CHARLOTTE Brontë’s writing slope was hers alone: it has a small brass plate on the top engraved C Brontë and her writing materials including two glass inkpots, a sheet of hand-ruled paper – just one? – an ivory-handled seal, lumps of sealing wax and several packets of enamelled sealing wafers printed with phrases such as “In answer to Yours” and “All’s well”, one quill pen and 114 steel nib pens. Anthony Trollope designed his own, the better to write while on his many dreary train journeys when working as an official for the dreary Post Office.

This little book looks at the history of the many types of antique portable writing desks which have existed in England since the 16th century.

The majority of those around today are Victorian, made in large numbers for the middle classes who used the universal penny post to pen missives trifling and important.

The author collects and restores antique writing equipment and his book covers portable writing desks early, Georgian, Victorian (secret drawers) and papier-mâché. Rare to find two identical.