This writing-table, with its combination of black-figured rosewood and brass inlay in the Louis XVI style, relates to furniture associated with the Regency cabinet-maker John McLean & Son, who traded from around 1770 at Little Newport Street, Leicester Square, before relocating around 1790 to Upper Marylebone Street and then Pancras Street, Tottenham Court Road. McLean's work is characterised by the use of richly grained veneers highlighted by brass mounts and restrained neoclassical form, and was the height of sophistication in the early 19th century. He was listed among the foremost English cabinet-makers in Thomas Sheraton's The Cabinet Dictionary, 1803, and in 1806 the firm announced the opening of their warerooms 'with a new and elegant assemblage of Parisian furniture'. They were patronised by the nobility and gentry including the connoisseur 5th Earl of Jersey, supplying furniture for Middleton Park, Oxfordshire and the earl's London mansion in Berkeley Square. By 1819 the business had fallen into ruin and in 1822 Mclean was bankrupt (G. Beard, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986, pp. 567-8).
A related rosewood library table with the same arrangement of brass-inlaid drawers and hollowed legs with brass collars was probably supplied to John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland (d.1841), sold at the Apethorpe sale, March 1904, and again at Sotheby's Fulbeck Hall sale, Olympia, 8 October 2002, lot 114, (£64,250 including premium), and another almost identical to the present lot but with a brass gallery was sold by Mrs Marella Agnelli, Sotheby's New York, 23 October 2004, lot 125 ($38,400 including premium). The former may just provide a clue to the paper label 'W' pasted on the present lot.