The lady's secretaire has its cornice of rich striated mahogany banded by a Roman mosaic-chequer ribbon. Its interior, framed by fluted pilasters, is inlaid with a conch-shell medallion, symbolising Love's triumph, and deriving from the antique or Etruscan fashion popularised by G.B. Piranesi's Diverse Maniere d'adornare i cammini, 'Apologia', Rome, 1769, p. 20. Its cluster-columned pillars, popularised by Thomas Chippendale's bookcase pattern in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Directors, 1754-62 (pls. LXXVI and CI), were adopted for clock-cases in the 1780s by Gillows of London and Lancaster (see L. Boynton, (ed.), Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, figs. 294 and 295). This celebrated firm may have executed this secretaire.
A similar shell tablet featured on a commode that is likely to have been executed about 1780 by John Linnell (d. 1796) (H. Hayward and P. Kirkham, William and John Linnell, London, 1980, vol. II, fig. 119).