This harlequin multi-purpose mechanical table for eating, writing and gaming, was named after the master-of-disguises in the 18th century Commedia del Arte theatre. A related design accompanies patterns for harlequin and other tables, on the trade card (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. E.2320-1889) of Thomas Potter (d.1782), cabinet-maker of High Holborn (see illustration). It includes a medal-cabinet, surmounted by the British lion accompanied by female figures, emblematic of the cardinal virtues, which corresponds to that now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and attributed to John Channon (d.1779) (illustrated in D. FitzGerald, Georgian Furniture, London, 1969, fig. 37). The desk's anthemia reflect Apollo's wreath of golden laurels and evoke the 'antique' fashion promoted by the architect Robert Adam and features for instance in the frieze of his Derby House chimneypiece illustrated in The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, London, 1777, vol. II, no. 1, pl. 111.
A very similar harlequin games-table was offered anonymously, Phillips London, 4 October 1994, lot 70, and one attributed to Thomas Potter was sold by Archibald Stirling of Keir, Keir Mains, Dunblane, Perthshire, Christie's house sale, 22 May 1995, lot 99 (C. Gilbert and T. Murdoch, John Channon and brass-inlaid furniture 1730-1760, New Haven and London, 1993, figs. 11 and 113, pls. VIII and IX).