The successful partnership of Mack, Williams and Gibton, 39 Stafford Street, Dublin, was formed in 1812, the firm flourishing under this name until the death of John Mack in 1829. They are renowned for employing fine, richly figured timbers and for the quality of their craftsmanship, which is often compared to Gillow of Lancaster and London. From 1814, the firm regularly stamped their furniture using a system of impressed four digit numbers preceded by a letter, and/or applied a paper label; the present bookcase is stamped B6680 with a Mack, Williams and Gibton paper label in the drawer. Gillow had been the first to adopt a numbering system in 1795, and the stamp may have been used for stock control or a piece may have received a number when the order was placed (Angela Alexander, 'A Firm of Dublin Cabinet-Makers Mack, Williams & Gibton', Irish Arts Review Yearbook, Vol. 11, 1995, pp. 142-148).
An almost identical bookcase, unattributed but almost certainly by Mack, Williams & Gibton, stamped B8318, was sold from the Estate of the late Lord Farnham, Christie's, London, 30 July 2003, lot 194. A related double-sided bookcase is at Petworth House, West Sussex, purchased from Dublin, and described in 1926 as 'a design peculiar to Ireland ... exceedingly rare in England' ('Furniture at Petworth', Country Life, 13 February, 1926, p.249, fig.9). Another version of this double sided bookcase attributed to Mack, Williams & Gibton, mounted on a tall stand is illustrated in Angela Cowhey, A Case Study of an Early Nineteenth Century Dublin Cabinet-Making Firm, M.A. thesis, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, fig.63 (private collection). Gillow may also have been supplying this type of bookcase with receeding shelves and fitted with castors in 1799, described as a 'moving library' in Gillow's cost books for this date (Margaret Jourdain, rev. Ralph Fastnedge, Regency Furniture, London, 1931, p.82).