In an early 19th century writing desk, also known as a secretary or escritoire, conservators have recently discovered long-forgotten secrets in hidden compartments which no one knew were there.

 

Photo: Annar Bjørgli

As realms of personal privacy, such writing desks were often constructed with secret compartments. But in this case, recent conservation work uncovered further concealed spaces behind the ones that were already known.

The newly discovered compartments are hard to access. To get at them you have to

  1. Open the middle door
  2. Pull out a drawer
  3. Press a device on the underside

These items are probably not as old as the desk itself. The last family to own the writing desk bought it in the late 19th century. Even so, it seems that someone in the family had something to hide!

In 2021, the escritoire and its secrets will be on display in the new National Museum.