This 'Grecian' writing-table is designed in the French manner, with rich rosewood veneers and a generous use of brass mounts, and further highlighted with giltwood decoration. The design features in none of the well known early 19th Century source books, such as those published by Sheraton, Smith or Hope indicating that it is the work of an individual designer and cabinet-maker. It does however recall the documented pieces by John McLean, who had premises in Little Newport Street, near Leicester Square from 1770-1783. In 1790 he was established at 58 Upper Marylebone Street, where the firm remained until it ceased trading in 1819/20. McLean and his son also occupied premises in Pancrass Street, Tottenham Court Road at some time between 1789 and 1805. The firm advertised in The Times, on 31 January 1806, saying that they had 'reopened their Warerooms with a new and elegant assemblage of Parisian Furniture', and again on the 11 February 1811 announcing 'a new and elegant assortment of every article of useful and ornamental furniture ... which being the production of their own manufactory, they are enabled to offer on terms most advantageous'. Their labelled furniture, elements of which are in the French style, clearly demonstrates the firm's idiosyncratic decorative language. They used rosewood veneers to enhance the opulent brass inlay, combined with lacquered brass mounts and 'washboard' or ribbed panels, alongside the pierced brass galleries, and parcel-gilt turned columns, some of these details featuring on the present lot (see C. Gilbert, Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, pp. 38 and 312-316, figs. 589-599 and S. Redburn, 'John McLean and Son', Furniture History, 1978, p. 31-37 and pls. 31A-45B).
This table belongs to a group of writing-tables in the manner of John Mclean: one sold anonymously, Sotheby's London, 16 November, 1990, lot 368, another sold by Sir William Miles Bt., Sotheby's London, 15 November 1991, lot 144, another advertised by Mallett, Country Life, May 2, 1991. A similar writing-table, with downswept end-supports filled with spindles, from St. Giles's House, Dorset, was sold by the Earl of Shaftesbury, in these Rooms, 23 October 1953, lot 92 and again by the Executors of the Late Mrs A. E. Goldberg, in these Rooms, 20 November, 1986, lot 124.