This ormolu-mounted and ebony-inlaid bookcase with cippus-altar cresting is typical of the French-Grecian style introduced by George Bullock (d.1818) at his brother William's Piccadilly Museum in 'The Grecian Rooms' circa 1814 and popularized by the opening of his establishment at 4 Tenterden Street in 1815. A pair of bookcases of this pattern featured in Bullock's November 1815 design for the Emperor Napoleon's Breakfast Room at New Longwood House, his residence on St. Helena, whose furnishings were commissioned by the Prince Regent, later King George IV, following the Emperor's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (British Library Lowe Papers, Mss. 4, folio 212). The St. Helena bookcases were illustrated in The Connoisseur, September 1920 (p.LIX). The design of its base, with flanking columns and entwined brass-trellis, also related to a commode design for an adjoining room at St. Helena. Amongst Bullock's designs for related items 'enriched with ebony and brass work' is a commode illustrated in R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts from January 1816 to September 1817, with inverted-acroteria feet and related grill pattern (reproduced in Ackermann's Regency Furniture & Interiors, 1984, pl. 93, p. 111). A similar bookcase pattern, entitled 'A Lady's Bookcase, with Cabinet' later appeared in Richard Brown's Rudiments of Drawing Cabinet and Upholstery Furniture, 1822, pl. XVIII.
The Grecian cresting is mounted with an ormolu bas-relief of leopardesses drinking from a fountain and is directly inspired by Thomas Hope's design for a cheval-glass cresting, illustrated in his Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, pl. 14. This bas-relief features on a pair of sideboards thought to have been supplied by Thomas Chippendale the younger (d.1822) for Harewood House, Yorkshire, circa 1805 (illustrated in C. Musgrave, Regency Furniture, London, 1961, pl. 84). Its flowered Grecian-scrolled grill also features on one of Bullock's chiffonier-cabinets in 'British Oak', commissioned by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and presented in August 1814 to Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester (d.1844), Ranger of Greenwich Park (illustrated in 'New acquisition for Ranger's House', Furniture History Society Newsletter, August 1995, fig.9).
On the third day of the Bullock sale, held by Christie's on the premises at 4 Tenterden Street, Hanover Square, lot 98 was described as:
'A beautiful small rosewood Lady's bookcase and cabinet, with upper folding doors, the panels of Buhl work, with a drawer supported by four turned rosewood columns, mounted with ebony, the lower part with brass folding doors, enclosing 14 cedar wood drawers, with satinwood fronts filleted with ebony and with ebony knobb handles, 5'16'' high'.