These chairs are virtually identical to the well-known set probably supplied by Giles Grendey to Henry Hoare for Stourhead, Wiltshire and illustrated in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, rev. ed., 1954, vol I, p. 275, fig. 154. The Stourhead chairs are also illustrated in situ in J.Fowler and J.Cornforth, English Decoration in the 18th Century, London, 1978, p. 237, fig. 205. Christopher Gilbert in 'A Chest of Drawers by Giles Grendey', Leeds Arts Calendar, no. 72 (1973), p. 30, says of those chairs 'Between 1746 and 1756 he [Grendey] was paid £207.4.4 for furniture at Stourhead, including £64 for chairs on 29 April 1746. The well-known set of shell back chairs at Stourhead may, accordingly, be products of his workshop'.
A pair of walnut and parcel-gilt side chairs of this exact design and attributed to Grendey was sold from the Estate of Halstead B. Vander Poel, Christie's, New York, 08 April 2004, lot 165. As with the offered lot, one of those chairs was inscribed 'TT'. A number of chairs from Grendey's workshop bear his journeymen's stamps and are thought to be the initials of individual chairmakers employed by Grendey (see C. Gilbert and G. Beard, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986 p. 372). One of the recorded initial stamps is 'TT' and though the mark on the offered lot is inscribed, it is certainly possible it is from this recorded journeyman.
Other chairs stamped 'R' and 'TT' and also of identical design were sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 12 March 1983, lots 199 and 200. Ten chairs from the Arthur D. Leidesdorf collection were sold Sotheby's, London, 27-28 June 1974, lots 7-8, some also bearing the 'R' and 'TT' stamps (two of these were subsequently sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 17 October 1981, lot 201). Eight scarlet lacquer side chairs, part of the celebrated commission supplied by Grendey to the Duke of Infantado, included three chairs stamped 'TT' were sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 2 February 1980.
A group of chairs of this pattern can be seen in situ in the Dining-room at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, illustrated in H. Avray Tipping, English Homes, London, 1926, Period VI, vol. 1, p. 9, fig. 12. Another chair of this pattern in walnut is illustrated in L. Synge, Mallett Millennium, London, 1999, p. 55, fig. 51.