This French-fashioned cabinet is designed in the elegant 'antique' manner popularised in the 1780s through the establishment of Parisian furniture-dealers (marchands-merciers) in London. Designed for bedroom apartments, it serves a multitude of purposes. Its marble-topped commode, with lozenge-parquetried tablet, conceals a secretaire-drawer; whilst its book-case is galleried for a clock or china vase, and displays colourful 'flower-basket' medallions incorporating roses and passion-flowers. Such golden satinwood furniture, that was painted rather than inlaid, was made fashionable by the decorative artist George Brookshaw (d.1823), who had opened a Mayfair cabinet-making business in Curzon Street before his move to Great Marlborough Street in 1782.
Appropriate for a 'Lady's Secretary', which was also called a 'bonheur du jour' or 'secretaire chiffonier', it is painted with a pearled and palm-flowered ribbon-guilloche and poetic laurels. It is fitted with ormolu trellis-work, and is painted with golden foliage and flowered ribbon-guilloches in a grisaille manner, such as the court clock-maker Benjamin Vulliamy adopted for his satinwood clocks and clock-pedestals in the later 1780s (see R. Smith, 'Benjamin Vulliamy's Library', Burlington Magazine, June, 1999, fig. 4). Its rectiliner and hermed architecture relates to that of a satinwood secretaire a George Simsom (d.1840), who opened his St. Paul's Church Yard establishment in the 1780s (see C. Gilbert, Marked London Furniture, Leeds, 1996, fig. 840). Indeed Simson, who is credited with the manufacture of some related clock-fitted secretaires exhibited at Weeks' Haymarket Museum, may also have executed this bonheur-du-jour.