Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
"large upholstered couch," 1897, apparently named for the manufacturer. Earlier (1853) "a kind of small ornamental writing table." The proper name is attested from 12c., from a place in Cheshire (Old English Devennport).
in modern usage, a large upholstered settee, but in the 18th century a compact desk having deep drawers on the right side and dummy drawer fronts on the left side. The sloping top of the davenport concealed a fitted well, the front of which protruded beyond the drawers and was supported by a pair of columns on a base, or plinth. The back of the writing area was normally flat and might be protected on three sides by a pierced brass gallery.