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The secretaire, also called the fall-front desk, is a tall piece of furniture comprising an upper drawer, a fall-front writing surface and a lower part with either drawers or doors.  The top is often in marble.   The wood used to make it depended on the style and period: often solid indigenous wood during the Regency and Directoire periods; the Louis XV and Restauration period prefered marquetry and the Louis XVI period favoured mahogany veneer.   The fitted interior comprised small drawers and compartments with sometimes a hidden compartment.  The secretaire, unlike the slope-top desk, permitted all documents to be left inside when the drop-leaf was closed.

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