The fantastical 'japanned' decoration on this piece, partially conceived in low relief, reflects the fashion for Chinese ornament inspired by imported lacquer screens and chests and promoted by Messrs. Stalker and Parker in A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing of 1688. Elements of the decoration, including the large-scale fan-bearing figures to the sides of the base, and the cell-pattern reserves surrounding the arched doors, appear on a bureau-cabinet supplied by the cabinet-maker John Belchier for Erddig Castle, Wales in the early 1720s (see M. Drury, 'Early Eighteenth-Century Furniture at Erddig', Apollo, July 1978, pp.52-53, pl.11). Another cabinet-on-chest of this form with cell-pattern reserves and continuous scenes to the doors is illustrated in P. Macquoid, The Age of Walnut, London, 1905, col.plate opposite p.152. Another similr is illustrated in M. Harris and Sons, A Catalogue and Index of Old Furniure and Works of Decorative Art, part 1, n.d. (c.1928), p.101.
This cabinet was purchased by the present owner's mother from the antique dealer James Williams of Savannah, Georgia, now renowned as the central character in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.