This elegant bookcase, with its arched pediment centered by an oval patera, and frieze carved with fluting interspersed by roundels can be attributed to the celebrated Golden Square firm of John Mayhew (d.1811) and William Ince (d.1804). This longterm partnership received significant commissions from influential clients such as the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim, the Earl of Coventry at Croome Court and the Earl of Exeter at Burghley House. Influential promoters of classical design, they collaborated closely with Robert Adam, reproducing furniture to his designs, and also had a close working relationship with the architect Henry Holland, who worked extensively for the Prince of Wales and his francophile court. Mayhew and Ince were frequently involved in these circles in the 1780s working at Carlton House, Woburn and Broadlands. A bookcase of virtually identical form and proportion was sold Sotheby's London, 29 November 2000, lot 44 (£135,500). Another from the collection of H.J. Joel, Esq., Childwick Bury, Hertfordshire, was sold Christie's house sale, 15 May 1978, lot 104. A marquetry example with arched pediment attributed to Mayhew and Ince was sold, the property of a Lady, Christie's London, 9 July 1998, lot 86 (£430,500).
The brand on the side of the case of this piece indicates that it was formerly in the possession of the First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister at the time of William IV's reign (1830-1837). Those who served during the reign of William IV (1830-1837) were as follows: 1828-1830: Duke of Wellington; 1830-1834: Earl Grey; 135-41: Viscount Melbourne; 1834-1835: Sir Robert Peel. No.10 Downing Street has been the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister since 1735, when the house was first occupied by Sir Robert Walpole.
Lockplates stamped E.Gascoigne appear on furniture of the highest quality, including the jewel cabinet supplied by Royal cabinet-makers William Vile and John Cobb in 1762 and doors supplied by the same firm for the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim in 1776. An ormolu-mounted satinwood and marquetry commode attributed to Thomas Chippendale, sold Christie's London, 4 July 1996, lot 398, is also fitted with this maker's lockplate. An Edward Gascoigne invoiced the connoisseur collector Sir Watkin WIlliams Wynn in 1776.