The Grecian temple-pedimented bookcase, ormolu-enriched to evoke Apollo as poetry-deity, is designed in the early 19th century French antique fashion. The tympanum's golden bas-relief tablet displays the sun-and-poetry deity's sun-rayed mask fretted in a palm-flowered cartouche of Roman acanthus; while palm-flowered reliefs embellish altar-plinths intended for urns or busts above its flanking cabinets. The latters' pilasters are enriched with poetic laurels; while palmettes flower the capitals of the truss-scrolled and reed-enriched pilasters of the 'commode' base. Its doors are panelled in marble-figured rosewood; while lunettes are woven in the bookcase's brass-trellised doors.
This bookcase is likely to have been commissioned for Peper Harrow, Surrey by George Brodrick, 4th Viscount Midleton (d. 1836). It is typical of Oakley's fine rosewood furniture, and might have been designed by the 'artist' John Taylor during his service at Oakley's 'Elegant Furniture Warehouse' in Bond Street. Its 'Apollo' cornice corresponds to that of a mahogany bookcase that Oakley supplied in 1810 for Papworth Hall, Cambridgshire (sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 18 November 1993, lot 117).
The depository label on the reverse inscribed Earl of Midleton suggests that the bookcase belonged to either William, the 1st Earl (1856-1942), or perhaps more likely to his son, George. The Earldom was created on William Brodrick in 1920 and expired (along with the Viscountcy of Dunsford which had also been conferred on William Brodrick) on the death of George Brodrick in 1979 when the Viscountcy of Midleton passed to the latter's cousin.