Roll Top Desk. A desk, usually but not always of pedestal shape with a superstructure of small drawers and pigeonholes, enclosed by a shutter of horizontal timber slats. Also known as a tambour top desk. The slats are glued to strips of canvas and may be rolled up or down along parallel grooves on either side of the frame. Dating from the late 19th century and usually made from oak, one of the better known brands is the 'Cutler' desk. The Cutler style desk was much copied, and a genuine Cutler with the 'Cutler' name around the extended brass escutcheon, will command a price premium over a desk in the Cutler style without the maker's plaque.
There is a second type of roll top desk, known as a cylinder desk that dates from the second half of the 18th century. The desk opening is enclosed by a quarter-round cylinder of veneered timber which, when opened, slides back into a recess behind the superstructure.