This magnificent bureau-cabinet, with its exotically-figured walnut can confidently be attributed to the cabinet-maker Peter Miller (d.1729) of the Savoy, London. A related bureau-cabinet by this virtuoso cabinet-maker is inscribed with his signature, 'Peter Miller Cabenet Macker in the Savoy in London the 13 June Ao 1724' (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, fig. 647, p. 337.) Apart from the superb quality of the mottled walnut, the carcase of both cabinets are distinctively constructed entirely with wainscot oak using a conventional English construction and executed with a precision characteristic of Miller's workshop. The dovetailing on the larger drawers and the construction of the smaller interior drawers are equally characteristic together with the unique profile of the molding either side of the slope. Both cabinets are triple-sectioned with carrying handles for ease of transport, and are fitted with the same patterned brass-work and matching elements of the lower section, both recessed in an arch and the drawer arrangement identical (A. Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740, Woodbridge, 2009, pp. 65-67.)
A small group attributed to Miller's workshop share a number of these technical and stylistic similarities and include:
- A bureau-cabinet purchased by Bristol City Art Galleries and Museums in 1957.
- A bureau made in London for Peter the Great of Russia in 1717 and now in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg (N. Guseva, 'Fedor Martynov, Russian Master Cabinet Maker', Furniture History, 1994, Vol. XXX., p. 97).
- A bureau-cabinet sold Christie's, London, 13 November 1997, lot 160 (£188,500).
- A bureau-cabinet sold Michael Lipitch, Sotheby's, London, 22 May 1998, lot 34 (£45,500).
- A knee-hole desk sold Christie's, New York, 22 April 1999, lot 192 ($189,500).
- A bureau-cabinet sold Christie's, London, 14 June 2001, lot 150 (£157,750).
- A bureau-cabinet library bookcase, sold Bonhams, London, 19 October 2011, lot 20 (£97,250).
The life and times of Peter Miller is vague and little documented. He operated his workshop from a leasehold in the Savoy, a small province free from many of the regulations of the City of London and the Livery Companies. He died in 1729 providing a modest settlement on two daughters and leaving his business and tools to a kinsman, John Miller. (C. Gilbert, op. cit. p.41.)