The restrained design, and the use of finely-figured mahogany, typifies the work of Gillows of Lancaster's 'antique' manner of the late 18th century. The Grand Tour in the late 18th century was the single most influential factor on the English gentleman's collecting taste and education. Jonas Brooke, heir to the Mere Hall estates in Cheshire was no exception and in 1783 departed from London with his tutor John Parkinson, bound for Naples, Rome, Tivoli, Florence, Venice and Milan. Much of the trip would have been occupied with the study of Classical Antiquity, but Jonas Brooke, like many Tourists, found time to make some purchases, including a mosaic of the Temple of Castor and Pollux bought in Rome, a chimneypiece and two tables of alabaster. In Florence he purchased a version of the Venus de' Medici. Sadly, whilst in Milan, he was cruelly struck down by a fever and died on 19 July 1784.
Whilst it is more than likely that Jonas Brooke purchased the superb specimen slab of this table whilst in Italy in 1783-84, his nephew, Peter Langford-Brooke (d. 1840) also made a Grand Tour in 1829-1832 and it is also possible that he may have purchased the slab. The base of the table is very much in the Gillows manner and their commission is well documented. Jonas's younger brother, Thomas Langford-Brooke (1769-1815) commissioned Lewis Wyatt to remodel Mere circa 1813 and continued the long tradition of the association of Gillows of Lancaster with the Wyatt family of architects. This table is more likely to date from the end of the 18th century, rather than from the time of the major Gillows commissions of circa 1813 and Thomas Langford-Brooke was in consultation with Samuel Wyatt at least by the 1790s and could conceivably have consulted the famed firm of Gillows to provide this base for his brother's splendid slab of Italian marbles.