Although apparently unmarked these cabinets bear stylistic and constructional features indicative of Gillows. This eminent firm of cabinet-makers, founded around 1730 by Robert Gillow in his native Lancaster and in London from 1769, had by 1863 received the Royal Warrant and were producing an astonishing range of furniture including neo-Gothic designs for the New Palace of Westminster and the Great Midland Hotel., St. Pancras.
The brass grilles to the cabinets are of a type supplied by John Hardman & Co., 'Mediaeval Metalworkers' of Birmingham (1838-1900) to the firm of J. G. Crace (d. 1889), but are also found on furniture stamped by Gillows. For example a small cabinet and a writing table, en suite, both stamped 'Gillow' and featuring comparable brass gothic grilles sold Sotheby's, London, 2 April 1993, lots 59 & 60. Furthermore the drawers to the cabinets have the characteristic Gillows feature of slots cut out at the back around the screws to allow shrinkage without splitting the base boards.
Although originally of French inspiration, the fashion for porcelain-mounted furniture was promoted in Britain during the 19th century as part of the 'Louis Seize' revival. At the London International Exhibition of 1862, Gillows exhibited an 'exceedingly graceful' cabinet inset with porcelain plaques by Copeland which was bought by H. J. Allcroft for Lancaster Gate, London and later removed to Stokesay Court, Shropshire (sold Sotheby's, Stokesay Court, 28 September 1994, lot 142). Here the porcelain panels, finely painted with Menade danzante emblematic of the seasons, are after engravings from the popularly reproduced Le Antichità di Ercolano Esposte (The Antiquities of Herculaneum), Accademia Ercolanese, Naples, 1755-1792.