Designed in the French 'antiquarian' manner, this exotic cabinet-on-stand reflects the influence of the Parisian marchands-merciers Dominique Daguerre and his successor Martin-Eloi Lignereux. The concept of combining 17th Century Japanese lacquer panels, embellished with European 'vernis' or over-decoration and employing them on a distinctly modern form was entirely the domain of the marchand-merciers in the strictly delineated French Guild system. Their pervasive influence, encouraged by the purchases made by George, Prince of Wales and, subsequently by his circle in Paris following the Treaty of Amiens in 1803 inevitably resulted in English cabinet-makers emulating this fashion.
This exotic china display-cabinet, commissioned to complement the 18th Century hand-painted Chinese wallpaper introduced into the house, was almost certainly executed in the same workshop as the pair of dwarf bookcases (lot 327) and the 'antiquarian' secretaire cabinet (lot 328) and may well be the work of George Oakley (d.1841). Although the extent of the 2nd Marquess' patronage of Oakley beyond the exceptional antiquarian suite of oak seat-furniture (lot 361) is unrecorded, the distinctive brass star inlay is characteristic of Oakley and can be seen, for instance, on the suite of furniture supplied in 1810 to Charles Madryll Cheere for Papworth Hall, Cambridgeshire. A calamander card-table from this latter commission inlaid with brass stars and ebony is illustrated in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1954, vol. III, p. 202, fig. 42.
Granted a Royal warrant in 1799 after receiving a visit from Queen Charlotte and other members of the Royal family, upon which '...her MAJESTY, the Duke and Duchess of YORK, and the PRINCESSES, &c., highly approved of the splendid variety which has justly attracted the notice of the fashionable world' (Morning Chronicle, May 1799), Oakley enjoyed a long and succesful career. Stretching from 1789-1819, he specialised in producing furniture in the Grecian taste for the Prince Regent and his circle.