The golden satinwood secretaire is designed in the antique manner popularised around 1790 by Thomas Sheraton, and is enriched with Grecian black-ribbon inlay, urn-embossed paterae handles and 'Pompeian' pillars inlaid with trompe l'oeil flutes. Its pattern, with commode doors embellished with 'Roman' medallions sunk in tablets and with its secretaire 'fall' concealed as trompe l'oeil drawers, evolved from a 1792 engraving of 'A Lady's Secretary' issued in Sheraton's The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, 1793, pl. 43. It corresponds, in particular, to a satinwood 'Lady's Secretary', surmounted by open bookshelves, which was ordered in 1798 from Gillows of Oxford Street by the Countess of Derby for Knowlsey Hall, Lancashire. Accompanying the firm's sketch in their Estimate Sketch Book for the 28 June are details noting that the feather-figuring of the medallion panels were to be satinwood 'birching' and 'centre-matched'; while the 'towers' were to be 'inlaid with purplewood', 1798 (L. Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs, London, 1995, fig. 155).
The brand 'Gillows Lancaster' is also recorded on a secretaire of this pattern in R. Edwards, The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, London 1964, p. 87. fig. 52.