Of Scottish extraction, the Gladstone's prosperity arose from their successful mercantile ventures in Liverpool, which ultimately led to the foundation of the Liverpool Corn Exchange. It was, therefore, only natural that they should turn to Messrs. Gillows of Lancaster for the refurnishing of both Hawarden Castle and, subsequently Fasque, Kincardineshire, which he acquired from Alexander Ramsey in 1830.
These tables were almost certainly commissioned around the time of John Gladstone's marriage to Anne Robertson in 1800. Further refurbishments were still ongoing in 1812, when a Regency grained daybed and matching settee by Gillows were supplied which also ended up at Fasque; the latter were inscribed and dated in pencil by Richard Slater (d. 1833) of Lancaster, who is recorded as working for Gillows from 1785 to 1827.
A virtually identical pair of tables was sold from Fasque, Christie's, London, 7 May 2008, lot 234.