The design of this Roman 'curule' armchair derives from a mahogany armchair designed by Thomas Hope (d. 1842) for the breakfast-room at his Duchess street mansion/museum. The chair was illustrated in this form in his Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, London, 1807, pl. XX, nos. 3 and 4, as well as with different decoration to the back and arms and shown in situ in the Aurora & Cephalus room on pl. VII. The chair pattern was later described by Hope as 'after the manner of ancient curule chairs'. No documented example of this model can be traced but several examples bearing four or five-digit numbers used by Victorian manufacturers including Marsh, Jones & Cribb, such as this one, are known.
John Marsh and Edward Jones of Leeds purchased the old established London business of John Kendell of London in 1864, opening a showroom in Cavendish Square, before entering into partnership with Henry Cribb in 1872. The firm employed many of the leading designers in the fashionable Gothic taste of the 1860s and 1870s. Notable among these was Charles Bevan who designed the lavish suite supplied to the Yorkshire mill owner Titus Salt in 1865, now at Lotherton Hall, Yorkshire, and Bruce Talbert (d.1881), author of Gothic Forms Applied to Furniture, 1868, and Examples of Ancient and Modern Furniture, 1876. A related armchair by Marsh Jones & Cribb was sold Christie's London, 24 April 2008, lot 52.