These majestic ebony-veneered and marble-topped cabinets are embellished with brass inlay and ormolu mounts in the French 'antique' style, recalling both the Louis XIV 'boulle' style and the Napoleonic style of Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine's Receuil de Decorations Interieures, 1802.
Their doors are panelled with golden trellisage, which would originally have contained flowered silk, en suite with window curtains; while the Grecian palmettes, wreathing the marble slab, would have been reflected in the accompanying pier glasses. Palmettes are also incorporated in the doors' flowered corner mounts, as well as in the husk-wreathed ormolu capitals and the acanthus-ribbon arabesque inlay of the pilasters, which terminate in festive lion paw feet.
One of the foremost London firms of cabinet-makers and Upholsterers, specialising in the Grecian taste and 'buhl' inlay was that of George Oakley (d.1840). He was mentioned in Smith's Guide and his premises in Old Bond Street, which contained workshops as well as showrooms, were noted for displaying 'superb cabinet furniture'; he was also apponted Master of the Upholders Company in 1822. He specialised in the combination of brass-inlay, often in a boulle style, with ormolu mounted on ebony or calamander. An attributionto this firm is tempting given the similarity of mood with a bookcase, supplied by Oakley to Papworth Hall. Cambridgeshire, and sold in the Rooms, 1 December 1977, lot 150, from the collection of the late Major Derek Parker-Bowles. A chiffonier with an almost identical anthemia gallery to the present lot was supplied by Oakley to Stoneleigh Abbey in 1819. Although the maker was not then known the chiffonier was sold from Stoneleigh by the Trustees of the Stoneleigh Settlement, Christie's house sale, 15 October 1981, lot 154.