Promoted by the writer Horace Walpole (d. 1797) for its 'Elizabethan' character, such ebony furniture became an important element of the Romantic 18th and early 19th Century antiquarian interior. An ebony settee, reputed to have been presented by Queen Elizabeth I to the Earl of Leicester, formed part of William Beckford's ebony furnishings in his 'Lancaster State Bedroom', that served for Admiral Nelson's celebrated visit to Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire in 1803, before being acquired for the Elizabethan mansion at Charlecote, Warwickshire in 1832. Ebony bedrooms were also created at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, and at Montague House, London, while an ebony dining-room was introduced at Longleat, Wiltshire in the early 19th Century. At this period such furniture was particularly associated with antiquarian dealers in Wardour Street, who created new forms of furniture using ancient elements.
This 'antiquarian' pedestal desk was undoubtedly constructed re-using the doors, drawers and interior of a Louis XIV ebony cabinet-on-stand. This type of finely relief-carved ebony panels combined with the rich and stage-like interior in the Flemish manner is typical of the oeuvre of Jean Maci, from Blois. Trained in the Low Countries he has been credited with many similarly decorated cabinets, including the Endymion Cabinet in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, as well as those cabinets introduced as part of the ebony dining room at Longleat.