This robust plinth-supported library commode of beautifully figured mahogany, has reed-enriched pilasters embellished with acanthus-wrapped trusses in the early l9th century Grecian antique fashion. This fashion was promoted by architects such as Lewis Wyatt (d.1853), following his appointment in 1804 to George III's architectural Board of Ordnance. Wyatt also worked in collaboration with the London and Lancaster firm of Gillow, who provided a suite of very closely related commodes cabinets in 1815 for Mere Hall, Knutsford, Cheshire (Christie's, house sale, 23 May 1994, lot 188 and 189). The Mere Hall commission is exceptionally well documented and sheds fascinating light into the costs and working practise of Gillows at this date. Thus, the construction in Lancaster of a bookcase with 2ft. 3in. front cost a total of £18.2.3., while its 4 Raffle Spandrels, which were sent from Oxford Street, London, accounted for £3.4.0.; moreover Richard Townley received £4.14.0 for making it. It was noted in the margin that there were to be:- Two of these and one 1ft. 9in. in front materials exactly the same? Another of 4ft., cost £25.130 and was made by Richard Selley, while 'A Mahogany Commode' cost £18.5.10 and was supplied by Isaac Robinson (lot 87). The Mahogany library Bookcase 12ft. 8in. long cost £79.12.101/2 and was made by Myers, Wilcock and Casson. Another example with jib door and ham volumes cost £111.11.3.. The full account of the making of Thomas Langford-Brooke's book cases in May 1815 is provided by Messrs. Gillows' Estimate Sketch Books in the Westminster Public Library.
Clumber was built for the second Duke of Newcastle by Stephen Wright between 1767 and 1770. Set in a large park, designed in part by Capability Brown, it was a grand Palladian house near Worksop in Nottinghamshire. During the 1850s the house was enlarged and embellished in the Italianate style by the fifth Duke, who also added the serpentine lake and a double avenue of lime trees over three miles in length. In the late Nineteenth Century a fire destroyed the whole centre section of the house, which was soon rebuilt. There was a further less serious fire in 1912. In 1938 Clumber was stripped, the contents sold, and the house demolished. The intention was to build a new house on the site but the park was requisitioned by the War Department during the Second World War, and the rebuilding never took place. The park was purchased by the National Trust in 1946. However, much of the estate remains, including the outstanding Gothic Revival Chapel, Walled Garden and greenhouses, Stable yard and the estate village of Hardwick.