The firm of Thomas Butler was established at 14 Catherine Street, Strand, from 1787, although Butler had traded at the premises with a partner - probably Edward Johnson - from 1784. In 1800 he sold the business to Thomas Oxenham, after which it moved to Oxford Street. Shortly afterwards he set up business again under his own name from the same premises and in around 1802 purchased the adjoining property, 13 Catherine Street. By 1814, Butler had retired for good and by 1816 his great rivals Morgan & Sanders, who traded from 16 and 17 Catherine Street, had taken over 'a considerable part of Mr Butler's late Ware-rooms'. Butler specialised in producing patent furniture (although does not appear to have taken out any of his own patents) and pieces produced by his workshop were made for easy disassembly and included 'campaign' furniture 'particularly adapted and for Travelling and EXPORTATION', according to his pictorial hand bill (C. Gilbert, The Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1660-1840, Leeds, 1996, pp. 20, 125-131). Two tables closely related to the present lot are illustrated by Gilbert (ibid., p. 130, figs. 177 & 178).