Alexander Murray of Broughton was Whig MP for Kirkcudbrightshire from 1838-1845. His important collection at Cally was dispersed by auction in January 1846 and included a bust of Napoleon by Bertel Thorvaldsen commissioned by Murray from the sculptor when in Rome in 1829. The great collector, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, purchased the bust from the house sale and it was later included in the Hamilton Palace sale of 1882 where it was illsutrated in the catalogue and sold for £640.10s.
Gatehouse owes its development to the entrepreneur James Murray of Broughton, whose great house, Cally, now a hotel, was completed in 1765. From 1760-1850 it grew into a thriving centre for the cotton industry. Gatehouse was known as "the Glasgow of the South". Port Macadam, once the town's harbour, lies on the stretch of the Fleet that was canalised by order of Alexander Murray in 1824, and used to receive up to 150 ships a year.
This table is made in a similar way to steel fenders and was probably made by a metal-maker rather than a cabinet-maker, harnessing Gatehouse's industrial expertise.