The fashion for painted and gilded pier tables dominated drawing-room design in the late 1780s and early 1790s. The design of this table corresponds to a design published by Thomas Sheraton in his Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, 1793, Appendix, pl. IV. A measure of the importance of floral decoration at this date is given by the frontispiece of The Cabinet-Maker's London Book of Prices, published in 1788, in which the frontispiece illustration is framed by ribbon-tied floral garlands. Furthermore it relates closely to a Gillows design for a card table, dated August 1794, but described as being executed in mahogany with kingwood crossbanding (L. Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, no. 7).
In the text accompanying his design, Sheraton comments that 'pier tables are merely for ornament under a glass, they are generally made very light, and the style of finishing them is rich and elegant. Sometimes the tops are of solid marble, but most commonly are veneered in rich satin, or other valuable wood, with a crossband on the outside, a border about two inches richly japanned, and a narrow crossband beyond it, to go all round'. In an article in Connoisseur in June 1967, pp. 110-111, Helena Hayward began to identify a group of similar tables with common features. The quality of the painted decoration is high and the tops frequently have an entwined ribbon banding. Among the group are:
1. A pair with giltwood bases illustrated in C. Claxton Stevens and S. Whittington, English Furniture, The Norman Adams Collection, Woodbridge, 1983, pp. 340-341.
2. A pair on painted bases illustrated, ibid., pp. 342-343.
3. A pair sold from the collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Parke Bernet, New York, 6-7 May 1960, lots 529-530.
4. A single semi-circular table in the Victoria and Albert Museum (W.5-1966; see: M. Tomlin, Catalogue of Adam Period Furniture, London, 1972, p. 156, no. S/9).
5. A pair in the Lady Lever Art Gallery (see: P. Macquoid, Catalogue, London, 1928, p. 76, no. 316 and pl. 75).