The art of penwork, black and white japanning in intricate patterns, became fashionable during the late Georgian and Regency periods. Designs for painted ornaments and patterns for borders were published in Ackermann's Repository of the Arts and could also be purchased at libraries and stationers' shops (C.Musgrave, Regency Furniture, 1961, p.135). Originally intended to imitate inlays of ebony and ivory, the inspiration for this penwork decoration ranged from classical sources to Indo-Chinese patterns. This type of decoration was applied to all types of furniture and objects of the period. Examples from Mrs. Hilson's collection include small boxes and cabinets (lots 253, 257 and 297) and furniture (the following two lots).