One such hollow-fronted dressing-table, likely to have been intended for a bay-windowed bedroom apartment, was described by Thomas Chippendale as a 'horseshoe' table in 1772 (see C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, p. 234, figs. 427, 428). The form was also popularised as a 'horseshoe' table by Thomas Sheraton in his October 1792 engraving published in The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, 1791-4. The latter, intended as a writing-table, included the central book-rest, which also features in Gillows' sketch for a horseshoe table executed in September 1792 (L. Boynton (ed.), Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, fig. 40). This present writing-table bears the stamp adopted around 1800 by Gillows of Lancaster.
Thomas Sheraton, in his Cabinet Dictionary of 1803, says of these tables 'some are made for writing and reading at, and having a rising desk in the centre, with piers of drawers each end. Others are made for ladies' work tables, with only a shallow drawer under the top' (see C. Claxton Stevens and S. Whittington, 18th Century English Furniture, The Norman Adams Collection, Woodbridge, rev.ed., 1985, p. 149.