Different styles of European and American antique secretary desks include Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassicism and Regency. Other secretary desk styles include Federal, Empire, Late Classicism and Art Nouveau.
The key features of a secretary desk are the built-in storage compartments above the writing space. Gothic secretaries from the 16th century have tall, vertical architecture with plants or geometrical carvings. Baroque secretaries from the 17th century have flattened feet, arcade panels and rounded decorative elements.
In 18th and 19th century Europe, Neo-Classical was the dominant style of secretary desk, and Federal styles were more common in North America during the same time period. Neo-Classical desks have ornamental carvings, claw feet and some Asian influences.