The design for the present Work Table appears as Plate 43 in Thomas Sheraton’s The Cabinet-Maker, Upholsterer, and General Artist’s Encyclopaedia of 1804-8 (figure 1).
The Encyclopaedia was the third of the publications on the art of furniture making, including numerous plates of designs, through which Sheraton rose to prominence. The first of these publications was the distinguished and influential Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book, produced by subscription in fortnightly numbers between 1791 and 1793. The Cabinet Dictionary followed in 1803 and in that year Sheraton began work on the Encyclopaedia with the ambitious aim of producing 125 parts. Sheraton’s death in 1806 left the work partly incomplete.
It was through the success of these works that Sheraton established his reputation as being among the foremost late eighteenth-century furniture designers.