With its oyster-cut veneers and floral marquetry reusing panels from a William and Mary piece of furniture, this small chest reflects the 'antiquarian' taste associated with connoisseurs of the early 19th Century and bears the inscribed date 1827. An 'antiquarian' cabinet of closely related character, almost certainly altered in the early 19th Century by Gillows of Lancaster for Peter Brooke (d.1840) of Mere Hall, is recorded in its transformed state in the Inventory of 1840 as 'A Beautiful inlaid cabinet, marble top and nest of drawers over ditto, with Pannels of marble painted & ebony' (sold Christie's house sale, Mere Hall, Cheshire, 23 May 1994, lot 58). A chest-of-drawers re-using 17th century veneers in the same manner, was sold by The Harvard University Art Museum, Christie's, New York, 13 April 2000, lot 171.
The chest once belonged to James (Jimmy) Donahue (1915-1966), the son of James Donahue and Jessie May Woolworth. Jessie, the daughter of Frank W. Woolworth, the department store tycoon, married Donahue in 1912. Jimmy was also a first cousin of Barbara Hutton.