These colourfully japanned 'Adam' window-pier 'commode-tables' reflect the Roman Etruscan style of fashionable George III drawing rooms and apartments introduced by the court architect Robert Adam (d. 1792) and popularised by the engraving of his 'Derby' commode in The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1774 (vol. II, No. 1, pl.8) and by designs executted by Messrs Gillow of London and Lancaster such as one executed for John Christian for Workington Hall in 1788 (L. Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs, 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, colour plate 12, p. 180).
While Adam's Rome-trained style suffered criticism around 1800 from enthusiasts for the Arts of Greece, it continued to be appreciated throughout the 19th century as noted in 1815 by Sir John Soane, when he wrote 'To Mr. Adam's taste in the Ornaments of his Buildings, and Furniture, we stand indebted, in-as-much as Manufacturers of every kind felt, as it were, the electric power of this Revolution in Art' (quoted E. Harris, The Genius of Robert Adam, London, 2001, p.17).
The tops of these elliptically curved commodes are japanned in celebration of lyric poetry with pearled and laurel-sprigged medallions, that depict pastoral music trophies in grisaille on a Grecian bronze-green ground. The commode doors, beneath the flower-festooned table-friezes, display medallioned floral bouquets framed in antique foliage; while the sides are ribbon-hung with 'picturesque' pastoral music trophies festooned in fruit and flowers to symbolise Peace and Plenty.