This breakfront can be attributed to the Swedish émigré cabinet-maker Christopher Fuhrlohg (1740-c.1787) due to an identical signed and dated 'Muse of Arato' marquetry panel on a commode (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, Leeds 1996, p. 212, figs 366-68). One of the era’s most talented marqueteurs, Fuhrlohg’s vividly detailed work frequently employed Classical motifs that were based on popular engravings or work by artists like Angelica Kauffmann. Her work is the basis for the signed marquetry panel which he further inscribed ‘ANGELLICA KAUFFMAN R.A. PINXIT. An engraving in Le Pitture Antiche d’Ercolano, published in Naples in 1760 is the source of the cymbal player in this breakfront’s center right door. Fuhrlohg often reused motifs and both of these panels appear on other pieces either signed or attributed to him. They include a commode in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, p. 110, fig.105) and a commode in the collection of Mrs. V.E. Triefus and Michael Knapp (Ibid, p.113 fig.110). A closely related library bookcase was also offered anonymously at Christie’s, London, 8 July 1999, lot 134.
Fuhrlohg arrived in London after training in Amsterdam and Paris where he may have worked under the ébéniste Jean-François Oeben. Fuhrlohg was first employed by the cabinet-maker John Linnell (1729-1796) and a commode he supplied to Castle Howard has Fuhrlohg’s signature and the date 1768 inside the carcass (J.F.Hayward, ‘A Newly Discovered Commode by Christopher Fuhrlohg’, Burlington Magazine, October 1972, p.707). By 1773, Fuhrlohg had established his own workshop and his tradecard states he is a ‘Cabinet Maker in the Modern Grecian and Chinese Taste.’ His expertise was clearly recognized as in 1783 he was engaged to supply furniture to the Prince of Wales for Carlton House. His new tradecard touted his French training and Royal patronage as Ebeniste to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Though little documentation of Fuhrlohg’s work in the Royal archives exists, this appointment is evidence of his skill as it was only given to the most gifted cabinet-makers.