Hallett was an important London cabinet-maker in the reign of George II, doing work for many of the great houses, including Holkham, Wilton, Ditchley, and Uppark.

Although described as 'eminent' in more than one contemporary account, furniture attributed to Hallett is scarce. The overall form of the bookcase is in the tradition of William Kent, but the carved detail, particularly that of the spandrels above the central door, is rococo. This mingling of styles corresponds to a cryptic reference to Hallett in Horace Walpole's correspondence in 1755, which shows that in spite of his allegiance to the principles of Palladianism, he was not unaware of the taste for chinoiserie and Gothic.

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