The fascination of this cabinet is the ability with which different materials and composition techniques have been combined. The highly decorated porcelain from South Staffordshire is deftly balanced with the finely cut gilt-metal mountings. In the 18th century craftsmen used gilt metal for decorative mounts on furniture and clocks; in this example they were undoubtedly intending to make the porcelain casket a luxury ware by heightening its ornamental impact.
The decorative scene on the casket top depicts a fashionable group of aristocratic figures playing cards. Interestingly, the chairs represented are identifiable; designs for chairs with similar looping backs were published during the 1740’s by the Frenchmen William De La Cour. An example is illustrated by Peter Ward-Jackson, English Furniture Designs of the Eighteenth Century, plate 19. Mathew Darly, working during the 1760’s, seems to have been strongly influenced by De La Cour and developed and refined the type in his pattern books (Ward-Jackson, ibid., pl. 180).