The 'Clifton' cabinet, with its 'Indian' flowered borders and local views around Bristol combined with Chinese picturesque scenes, reflects the taste for the exotic encouraged by East India Company imports and the rustic style created by George, Prince of Wales, later George IV, at his Marine Pavilion, Brighton around 1800.
The opening of Rudolph Ackermann's print shop, drawing school and art supply store in London in 1795 and his publication of The Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions 1809 - 28, which included ornaments for paintings on wood, encouraged the fashion for related decorative penwork furniture. The newly invented copper rollers helped popularise this style of Asian floral borders enclosing landscape scenes, which is also found on contemporary transfer-printed pottery wares (see: 'Penwork: The Triumph of Line', Exhibition Catalogue, Hyde Park Antiques, New York, 1989).
A monochrome penwork library table of similar character, decorated with 'picturesque' scenes of Chinamen on floating islands with elaborate 'Indian' floral borders, is signed by Henzell Gouch and dated 1815 (illustrated in F. Collard, Regency Furniture, Woodbridge, 1985, p. 319, pl. 40).
The inscription on this cabinet is presumably on the interior of the carcase and has never been found by Christie's.