Desk 1870-71. Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America Walnut, walnut veneer, rosewood (knobs), brass, iron, steel, glass 77 1/2 x 62 x 32 1/4 inches (196.9 x 157.5 x 81.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gift of George Wood Furness, 1974.
Designed by Frank Furness, (American, 1839–1912). An acclaimed American architect of the Victorian era. He designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area, and is remembered for his eclectic, muscular, often idiosyncratically scaled buildings, and for his influence on the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. The Furness desk was likely made by Daniel Pabst, American (born Germany, 1826–1910).
Created for his brother Horace Furness’ study, this desk embodies Frank Furness’ rejection of historicist design in favor of a bold and unorthodox juxtaposition of architectural forms. The horseshoe arch as well as the stylized patterns and dynamic interplay of intaglio (incised) and relief carving are details that Furness also used in his buildings, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Broad and Cherry Streets, completed five years after the desk. The incised ornament echoes the stylized natural forms made popular by British designer Christopher Dresser (1834–1904). These features are also characteristic of furniture made by Philadelphia cabinetmaker Daniel Pabst, who may have been responsible for making this desk and other pieces for Horace’s study.

Desk 1870-71. Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America Walnut, walnut veneer, rosewood (knobs), brass, iron, steel, glass
77 1/2 x 62 x 32 1/4 inches (196.9 x 157.5 x 81.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Gift of George Wood Furness, 1974.

Designed by Frank Furness, (American, 1839–1912). An acclaimed American architect of the Victorian era. He designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area, and is remembered for his eclectic, muscular, often idiosyncratically scaled buildings, and for his influence on the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. The Furness desk was likely made by Daniel Pabst, American (born Germany, 1826–1910).


Created for his brother Horace Furness’ study, this desk embodies Frank Furness’ rejection of historicist design in favor of a bold and unorthodox juxtaposition of architectural forms. The horseshoe arch as well as the stylized patterns and dynamic interplay of intaglio (incised) and relief carving are details that Furness also used in his buildings, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Broad and Cherry Streets, completed five years after the desk. The incised ornament echoes the stylized natural forms made popular by British designer Christopher Dresser (1834–1904). These features are also characteristic of furniture made by Philadelphia cabinetmaker Daniel Pabst, who may have been responsible for making this desk and other pieces for Horace’s study.