The 'Chinese Chippendale' dressing-table with its bell-hung, foliated and trellised paling, epitomises the 'picturesque' fashion promoted by Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Directors, London, 1754-1762. Chippendale's enlarged third edition of the Director, dedicated to Prince William, brother of George III was issued in 1762. An almost identical dressing-table is likely to have been commissioned at this period for the family apartments at Badminton, Gloucestershire by Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort (d. 1803) following his marriage to Elizabeth Boscawen (illustrated in P. Macquoid, A History of English Furniture, The Age of Mahogany, London, 1908, p. 253, fig. 239 and R. Edwards and M. Jourdain, Georgian Cabinet-Makers, London, 3rd ed., 1955, p. 180, fig. 116). Its architecture and rich decoration would have harmonised with furnishings introduced in the early 1750s in the Chinese papered apartments by his father Charles, 4th Duke of Beaufort (d. 1756). The latter subscribed to the first Director, which was published in the same year that his rooms, filled with japanned furniture supplied by William Linnell (d. 1763) of Berkeley Square, were admired by Dr. Pococke as being 'finished and furnished very elegantly in the Chinese manner' (see C. Wilk, Western Furniture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1996, p. 104). The 1835 Badminton inventory drawn up by James Cox on the death of the 6th Duke of Beaufort listed the 'Mahogany Fret worked Dressing Table' in the 'Chinese Dressing Room'.
This dressing-table, with dressing-mirror and toilet boxes and compartments concealed beneath a hinged top, has Chinese chamfered legs and fretted gallery to its hollow-fronted stretcher-tray and relates to a 1753 Director pattern for a bedroom-apartment pembroke or breakfasting-table (pl. XXXIII).