The antiquarian secretaire-cabinet, with its richly carved Ionic-columned commode, secretaire-drawer and glazed cabinet is conceived in the Elizabethan Louis Quatorze fashion popularised by Thomas King's The Modern Style of Cabinet Work Exemplified l829-62.
Its arched pediment is fretted with Love's triumphal laurel-crowned chariots, accompanying a plinth-supported flower vase, while ringed satyr-masks festoon the cabinet's canted angles with fruit and flowers. Displayed in acanthus-scrolled tablets on the commode doors are the emblematical female figures of the 'theological virtues' of Charity, Faith and Hope, accompanied by three 'cardinal virtues' of Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. While additional figures of Charity and Justice flank figures in a niched arcade carved on the bureau drawer.
The cabinet bears the numbered label adopted by the firm of Thomas Seddon (d. l864) and George Seddon (d. l856) following their move to Gray's Inn Road in l83l and the accession of Queen Victoria in l837, when they were appointed 'Manufacturers to Her Majesty'. The label, bears an ink inscription with an illegible name, and its pattern corresponds to one bearing the name 'Thompson' and number '4826' recorded on a library table (illustrated in C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, p. 416, nos. 825 and 826.
John Derby Allcroft (d. 1893) amalgamated three separate estates in the 1860s, which culminated in the construction of Stokesay Court, designed by Thomas Harris F.R.I.B.A. and completed in 1892. Hampton & Sons, 'House Furnishers' of Pall Mall were employed to carry out the internal panelling, furnishing, and upholstery.
The house and grounds were inherited by J.D. Allcroft's son, Herbert (d. 1911) who contributed further to the Stokesay empire by restoring the old castle and the medieval church. An avid collector, he added to his father's collection and also brought back furniture, silks, armour and other pieces from the far East. His wife, Margaret Russel added many of the Russel heirlooms from Charlton Park in Gloucester, to the more recent Allcroft acquisitions. They had two children, John Russel, and Jewell. Margaret remarried Brigadier General John Rotten, after Herbert died and she continued to manage Stokesay. The estate was passed to their daughter Jewell after she had married Sir Philip Magnus, and as a consequence she changed her name to Magnus-Allcroft. In 1994 the furniture was sold in a Sotheby's house sale, 28th September - 1 October 1994 having been preserved for the last fifty years in the attics.
The present yew wood cabinet was reputedly given to John Russel and Jewell Allcroft's Nanny, along with the two money boxes with their initials, by the Allcroft family. It was also discussed by John Bly on 'The Great Antiques Hunt' at Ockwells Manor in Berkshire (BBC 1 Television).