This bureau-cabinet may have originated from either Scotland or Ireland. The shell motif which features prominently on the pediment is a typically Irish feature seen on related Irish cabinets. For example, an Irish bureau cabinet of circa 1750-60, with similar scrolled pediment decorated with roundels and centred by a shell (illustrated in The Knight of Glin and J. Peill, Irish Furniture, 2007, p. 251, pl. 191). Another related example is an Irish George III mahogany bureau-cabinet displaying similarly panelled doors and fall front (offered anonymously, Christie's, London, 19 November 1987, lot 145).
There are also comparable examples of Scottish bureau-cabinets, such as a Scottish bureau-cabinet at Malleny House, Edinburgh featuring a similar drawer arrangement (illustrated in F. Bamford, A Dictionary of Edinburgh Furniture Makers, Leeds, 1983, pl. 84).
One final comparative example is a George II mahogany bureau-cabinet with features in common with the current lot, such as a scrolled pediment, ogee bracket feet and shaped apron. Its pediment is centred by a cartouche bearing the arms of the Thors of Thorp, Yorkshire (offered anonymously, Sotheby's, London, 30 June 2004, lot 99).
The bureau cabinet was reputedly given by John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, to his friend Duncan Forbes who managed his estates in Argyll.