This serpentined chest-on-stand, carved overall with watery ornament in the picturesque manner, reflects the naturalism of the St. Martin's Lane Academy established by the painter William Hogarth. The latters' publication, The Line of Beauty, 1753, praised the serpentine rather than the straight line as most appropriate for furnishings. The Academy, where the French artist Hubert Gravelot taught, provided the training ground for the architect James Paine (d.1789), who is thought to have encouraged Thomas Chippendale (d.1779) to move from Yorkshire to London, where in 1754 he was to announce his arrival in St. Martin's Lane with the publication of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director. His patterns illustrated the fashionable Louis XV style, with its serpentined forms embellished with naturalistic carving and brass-work, and this chest is clearly inspired by Chippendale's patterns for French commode-tables published in 1754.
This chest-on-stand is perhaps most closely related to a pair of commodes acquired through R.W. Symonds by Samuel Messer, Esq. and sold at Christie's London, 5 December 1991, lot 104. The latter, together with a further single commode from the same sale, lot 105, commissioned by the 2nd Viscount Galway circa 1755 for Serlby Hall, Yorkshire and possibly supplied by Messrs. Wright and Elwick of Wakefield, displays the same distinctive serpentine shape with cut-corners, gadrooned top, acanthus and cabochon carved apron to the stand and hairy-paw feet.