The bureau's bookcase doors are embellished in the Etruscan fashion introduced in the 1770s by Robert Adam (d.1792), architect to King George III. Their light blue panels are embellished with Etruscan-coloured and flower-petalled patterae in the spandrels and central medallions. The latter display polychromed vignettes of genii-attended female figures emblematic of the Cardinal Arts of Painting and Poetry/Music, and conceived in the fashion popularised by Angelica Kauffmann (d.1807). They relate to the work of Henry Clay (d.1778), papier-mch maker of Birmingham and Bedford Street, The Strand and 'Japanner in Ordinary' to King George III, who supplied papier-mch door panels for the hall at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire (see George Richardson's watercolour of 1774 illustrated in G.Jackson-Stops, Robert Adam and Kedleston, 1987, p.61 and G.Beard, Craftsmen and Interior Decoration in England, Edinburgh, 1981, p.251).
A very similar George III bureau-bookcase probably done by the same cabinet-maker, with its doors decorated with grisaille panels depicting Milton and Shakespeare and with a very similar interior was sold anonymously, Sotheby's, London, 1 May 1987, lot 90 (12,100).