Most principalities and kingdoms of late 17th and early 18th-century Europe looked to Louis XIV's court in Paris for the latest trends in fashion and style. This bureau-cabinet, however, is a prime example of the amazing diversity of foreign influences on the court-style of early 18th-century Saxony. The basically English form of the bureau-cabinet was adopted by the Dresden guild of cabinet-makers who added it to the list of pieces of furniture, the 'Meisterstücke', an aspiring cabinet-maker would have to produce in order to obtain the title of master. The inventories of two that Saxon palaces, Moritzburg and Pillnitz, of 1733 and 1734 respectively, list over seventy such 'Englische Schreibschränke'. The description 'English' only rarely referred to the origin of the pieces, but was a reference to particularly English characteristics, namely the preference for beautifully figured veneers, clear architectural constructions, attention to detail, and finish of the exterior and interior, which set them apart from many continental pieces of furniture.
A related bureau-cabinet, lost from Schloss Moritzburg in 1945, is illustrated in G. Haase, Dresdener Möbel des 18. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1983, p. 284, cat. 82.