Several features of the present desk - the use of fine figured mahogany veneers, the 'Chinese' angled corners to the door panels, the use of locks by Mrs. Elizabeth Gascoigne and several constructional features - show marked similarities with the work of the greatest cabinet-maker of the 18th century, Thomas Chippendale. The thin red wash to the underside can be found on many documented pieces by Chippendale, including the magnificent padouk bookcase supplied to William Crichton-Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries (1699-1768) for Dumfries House Ayrshire. Messrs. Chippendale and Rannie invoiced Lord Dumfries for the bookcase on 5 May 1759 and shipped it to Ayrshire on the Diligence on 29 May 1759, it having been meticulously prepared for the journey in a 'Glued Packing Case' with 'Paper, Deal, Nails, Cloath & Pack thread' (see Christie's Dumfries House: A Chippendale Commission sale catalogue, vol. I, 12 July 2007, lot 40). Redudant flat-head nails and traces of 'Pack thread' can also be found on a plainer mahogany clothes press that Chippendale almost certainly supplied to Lord Dumfries in 1763 (ibid., vol. II, 13 July 2007, lot 236), which as well as the thin red wash also featured a laminated blocked-up construction to the feet - all features present on this large-scale library desk. The massive anti-friction castors are of the highest quailty and with its original complicated mechanism for a pop-up section to the centre of the top, probably removed in the late 18th/early 19th century, this was undoubtedly an expensive commission completed with masterful skill for a distinguished patron.
Elizabeth Gascoigne, a specialist metalsmith working in London in the mid-18th century, produced locks, mechanisms and other hardware for furniture made by several leading cabinet-makers at that time. Her locks are usually found on furniture by Chippendale and other makers of the highest quality. They feature on a magnificent mahogany commode, which Chippendale supplied for the St. James's Square mansion of Sir Rowland Winn of Nostell Priory (sold from the Samuel Messer Collection, Christie's London, 5 December 1991, lot 130), as well as on a jewel cabinet supplied to Queen Charlotte in 1762 by William Vile at a cost of £138 10s. The choice Mrs. Gascoigne's locks on the jewel cabinet, which would have been made with great precision to safeguard the Queen's magnificent jewellery, is notable.