The bookcase is designed in the Grecian manner with its temple pediment crowned by an escutcheon-bearing stepped plinth for a bust, that is echoed by the projecting plinth-capped side cabinets. The bookcase evokes lyric poetry with pilasters capped by Venus-pearled paterae accompanied by Apollo palms on the cabinet's paired Composite pilasters. Its commode doors are sculpted with robust reed gadroons in the manner of trompe l'oeil books in Elizabethan linen-fold fashion.
The robust architecture of the bookcase reflects the Regency fashion promoted by the The Repository of Arts magazine issued from 1809 to 1828 by Rudolph Ackerman, such as the pattern for a Grecian bookcase designed on correct principles and published in 1824 (January, III, 3, pl. 3, p.59).
The bookcase is likely to have been commissioned by Cornelius O' Callaghan, 1st Viscount Lismore (1775-1857), and designed for Shanbally Castle, Co. Tipperary following its completion to the designs of the architect John Nash (d.1835), Surveyor General of the Board of Works of George, Prince Regent, later George IV.
Shanbally Castle is described in Vanishing Country Houses of Ireland, by The Knight of Glin, David J. Griffin & Nicholas K. Robinson, p. 136, as 'John Nash's most important and largest Irish Castle. Built c.1806...the castle in good repair was sold in 1954 and despite protests in the press was demolished in 1957. Its destruction was one of Ireland's great architectural losses this century'.