This rare cabinet is spectacular in the detail and ingenuity of its decoration and its brilliant red ground. It is a remarkable survival retaining virtually all of its original decoration. The rare vibrancy of the 'Chinese red' ground compares to the Queen Anne bachelor's chest/writing table formerly owned by Sir Phillip Sassoon, Bt. at Trent Park, Hertfordshire and thence to Houghton Hall, Norfolk (sold Christie's, London, 'Works of Art from Houghton', 8 December 1994, lot 114).
The cabinet, when it was sold by Partridge in the 1980s, was said to have come from the Agnelli family. The socialite Marella Agnelli, one of Capote's 'swan's', furnished her New York home in the early 1980s with the assistance of the Milan-based Renzo Mongiardino, who was the family's decorator for 30 years. These spectacular interiors reveal an affection for rich reds and lacquer surfaces. The cabinet would have suited Marella Agnelli and Mongiardino's rich and theatrical tastes perfectly. If indeed Marella Agnelli was the family member who owned the cabinet, it is possible that it could have left the collection when Peter Marino was engaged to modify the apartment over the years. Marella Agnelli's collection was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 23 October 2004.