The bookcase is embellished in the French/antique fashion to evoke the triumph of lyric poetry. The tablets of beautifully figured mahogany, sunk in its commodes doors, are flowered by Grecian-black and trefoiled 'Apollo' palms that are tied in wave-scrolled ribbons at the hollowed corners, which are embossed by 'Venus' pearled libation- paterae. Related palm-flowered tablets feature in an 1804 pattern for a mahogany and ebony-inlaid library-table issued in George Smith's, Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, London 1808 (p. 86). The signature on the lock is that which was used by Bramah from 1798 onwards.
This bookcase was almost certainly acquired by Sir John Gladstone for Seaforth House as part of his grand and extravagant alterations, in particular to the Library and Picture Gallery. In October 1817 Anne Gladsone, in a letter to her brother Tom, wrote that her father was spending so much time on altering the house that it should now be called 'Guttling Hall.'