The temple-pedimented bookcase is designed in the George II Roman fashion instigated by the architect Inigo Jones (d. 1637) and promoted by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. A bust is likely to have been intended for display on the bracket, which is incorporated in its moulded and echinus-enriched pediment and buttressed by addorsed Jupiter eagle-heads emerging from the rich volutes of Roman foliage. The cornice of its 'commode' base conceals book-slides, and is fretted with a Vitruvian wave-scrolled ribbon fret; while the plinth's torus moulding is enriched with a flowered ribbon-guilloche The 'commode' doors display fine figured panels of mahogany, which are sunk in fielded panels. The open pediment and glazing pattern relates to a Tuscan bookcase pattern of 1739 in Batty Langley's, Treasury of Designs: or the Art of Drawing and Working the ornamental parts of Architecture, London, 1745, pl. 58). Similar addorsed eagles, sometimes united by a coronet, feature on the contemporary cornices of doors or chimney-pieces. Langley illustrated similar eagles issuing from Roman foliage in a chimney-piece in Gothic Architecture Improv'd by Rules and Proportions, 1742 (pl. 47).
A bookcase of this pattern was formerly in the collection assembled Mr. Geoffrey Blackwell with advice from the furniture historian and dealer R. W. Symonds. (R. W. Symonds, 'Furniture in the Collection of Mr. Geoffrey Blackwell', Apollo, April 1936, pp. 192-320, fig. 2). Another belonged to Mr. Vivian Smith, created Lord Bicester in 1938, who purchased Tusmore, Oxfordshire in 1929. Following Lord Bicester's sale of this second bookcase at Christie's, London on 21 March 1957 (lot 51), it was acquired by Mr. John Blackwell to accompany the first, which he had inherited from his father.