The richly inlaid cabinet is conceived for a bedroom apartment dressed in the 1770s George III 'French/antique manner'. Intended for china vase garniture on its cornice and beneath its table-frame; its interior is dressed with novel 'variety' in the romantic British fashion promoted by the antiquarian Horace Walpole at his Strawberry Hill villa. Here a triumphal gothic arch, overgrown by foliage and flowered by cusp-fretted roses, screens a mirrored 'tabernacle' recess; while the beautiful marbled and rose-tinted parquetry of its drawer-nests presents trompe l'oeil' ribbon-guilloches pearled by lily-white buttons.
The cabinet facade's lacewood-wreathed golden tablets are labelled by trophies in celebration of lyric poetry's triumph, and Apollo's power as sun god and Mt. Parnassus leader of the Muses of Artistic Inspiration. Sun-rays issue from the deity's sacred sunflower-emblazoned escutcheons, that are wrapped by palm-flowered acanthus and hang from French flounced ribbons; while water-scalloped enrichments evoke the Roman concept 'Collegit ut Spargat' in reference to his ability to gather clouds around the sun for their better dispersal. Likewise the stand's cupid-bowed frieze is labelled with a sunflowered libation-patera, whose festive ribbon-tied garland comprises Jupiter-the-Thunderer's sacred oak, and this also festoons the herm-tapered and sunflowered pilasters .
This cabinet, like a related fine-inlaid one at Saltram, Devon might possibly be the work of the celebrated Golden Square firm of John Mayhew and William Ince (G. Wills, English Furniture 1760-1900, London, 1971, fig. 87).