The bookcase, with golden trellis-grilled cabinet and marble-topped commode, has pilasters embellished with black bas-relief paterae and ribbon-inlaid tablets. It is conceived in the French/Grecian manner promoted around 1800 by George, Prince of Wales and by the connoisseur, Thomas Hope (d. 1831). Its manufacture in patriotic British oak reflects the antiquarian taste appropriate to Longleat's Elizabethan architecture. The cupboards are fitted with Bramah patent locks, the patent having been granted in 1784 and extended in 1798 for a further fourteen years.
This style of furniture was a speciality of George Bullock (d. 1818) who opened his celebrated London show rooms in Piccadilly's 'Egyptian Hall' in 1812 and was commissioned in 1815 to manufacture related furniture for the St. Helena residence occupied by Napoleon (C. Wainwright et al., George Bullock and his Circle, London, 1988, no. 19 and M. Levy, 'Napoleon in Exile', Furniture History, 1998, pp. 49 and 53, figs. 36, 37 and 38).
As an alternative to George Bullock, the St. Paul's Church Yard cabinet-maker, George Oakley may also be a possibility as he supplied a suite of oak seat furniture to the 2nd Marquess of Bath in 1812, his bill of 1813 amounting to £295 5. 6d (see lot 361). Whilst the bookcase is very much in the style of George Bullock, his early death in 1818 certainly resulted in Messrs. Morant manufacturing furniture for Mathew Robinson Boulton at Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire in his signature style (see the bookcase sold anonymously at Bonhams, London, 9 April 2002, lot 129).