By family tradition, this bookcase was designed by the celebrated Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer (d.1928) for William Laing's new Library at Ravelstonand made by the Nathaniel Grieves workshop - of which Laing was Managing Director. It was designed for a recess to house the newly-acquired Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1926 - where it remained until removed for sale at Shapes. Although the execution of the design is undoubtedly treated differently to the documented Lorimer furniture executed by Messrs. Whyttock and Reid of Edinburgh, Lorimer's repeated collaboration with Nathaniel Grieves's firm for joinery is well documented, at Balmanno and elsewhere. There is therefore every reason to believe that family tradition is correct in assuming that it was to Lorimer and his own firm that Laing turned.
William Laing, born in 1907, was the last managing director of Nathaniel Grieves, Contractors and Architectural Woodworkers, of Washington Lane, Daltry. The firm ran an intricate and thorough system of apprenticeship for their craftsmen, and Lorimer sometimes used this firm to execute his designs - although to Lorimer's frustration they did not have specialist carvers on their payroll, preferring to outsource to specialists like the Clow twins.