The multi-purpose chest-of-drawers, combines a concealed bureau-dressing-table with mirrored cabinet, whose double arched pediment would have been embellished with urn-finials in the Louis Quatorze 'Roman' fashion popularised by the engraved Oeuvre, issued by the court architect around 1700 Daniel Marot (d. 1752).
Appropriate for the novel decoration of bedroom apartments, its scenes of the chase and garden landscapes are inspired by East Indian company lacquer imports, as Messrs Stalker and Parker recommended in their celebrated, Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, 1688.
Two such double-arched 'Japan' cabinets were inventoried at Erddig, Wales in 1726 (The National Trust, 'Erddig', Apollo, July 1978, p.52, pl.11) They are attributed to the St. Paul's Churchyard cabinet-maker John Belchier (d. 1753), who traded at the sign of 'The Sun' (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, Fig. 68). The present cabinet's side arched pediments exhibit cloud-wreathed suns, which appear to evoke the Roman concept of the sun-god Apollo gathering clouds for their better dispersal (collegit ut spargat). A rare feature of this cabinet's japanning is that its door-interiors, as well as the façade of its Doric-columned 'tabernacle' compartment, portray figures from the Italian commedia dell'arte in place of 'Chinese' figures, as depicated on a closely related cabinet sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 27 November 2003, lot 50 (£117,250).