The distinctive conch-shell demi-medallion found on this table was inspired by J.B. Piranesi's Divers[e] Manners of Ornamenting Chimneys, 1769, which elaborated upon the beauty of testaceous forms used in Etruscan interiors. A small group of satinwood and marquetry furniture, all with remarkably similar medallions, has been identified as by or attributed to Charles Elliott, a London cabinetmaker and upholsterer. This group includes a pembroke table sold Christie's, London, 4 July 1991, lot 147 (£30,800), the present side table and another side table of this exact pattern. An almost identical side table is illustrated in 'Charles Elliott, Royal Cabinet-Maker,' The Connoisseur, June 1959, p. 36, fig. 5.
This table is almost identical to one included in a commission from Captain William Tufnell as part of the decoration and furnishings of Langleys, Essex, after he had taken possession in 1793. Though there is a surviving invoice from Elliott to Tufnell covering June 1797 through February 1798, it does not specify specific items though the presence of an almost identical side table at Langley today links it with Elliott's work. There is a strong possibility then that the Langley table was ordered as part of another suite either by another branch of the family or possibly added to the existing Langley Elliott furnishings at a later date.
Charles Elliott received royal appointments from 1783 to 1810 for which was paid a fixed quarterly salary of £157 10s. During this time, Elliott was engaged at the Houses of Parliment, the Queen's House (now Buckingham Palace), St. James's, Kew Palace, Kensington Palace and Newmarket Palace with repair work, the cleaning of furniture and of upholstery. In addition to this contracted work, he also received fixed amounts for providing and installing furniture, mirrors, upholstery and carpets. Elliott was listed at 97 New Bond Street until 1808, at which time he and his brother-in-law, William Frances, entered into partnership and listed their firm as Elliott & Francis at 104 New Bond Street (G. Beard and C. Gilbert, eds., The Dictionary of English Furniture: 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986, pp. 273-274).