The watery-gadrooned serpentine frames in the French manner would originally have been mirrored in close-nailed upholstery and relate in character to the 'cabriole' chair in Thomas Malton's Complete Treatise on Perspective, 1775, pl.XXXIII, fig. 131. Their 'acroteria' knees adorned with a stylised palmette betray the influence of French-Grecian style.
These chairs belong to a group traditionally associated with John Cobb (d.1778) of St. Martin's Lane, 'upholsterer' to George III from 1761 in partnership with William Vile (d.1767). Related furniture was supplied at this period for Erddig, Denbighshire (J. Cragg, 'Room for improvement, the re-arrangement of room furnishings at Erddig', Apollo, April 2002, p. 38, fig. 4). Payments to John Cobb were made by Philip Yorke I of Erdigg in 1770 (Erddig, Guide Book, 1978, p. g).
Three pairs of armchairs of this model were sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 18 November 1993, lots 54-56. A pair of armchairs of virtually identical design was sold from The Prescott Collection, Christie's, New York, 31 January 1981, lot 323. One of the armchairs, from what is quoted to be a set of eight, is illustrated in D. Nickerson, English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1963, p. 80, fig, 83 suggesting the possibility that the current pair may be the Prescott pair. Six matching side chairs were sold, anonymously, Christie's, New York, 18 October 2005, lot 422.
Other chairs of this model, of closely related form but with additional gadrooned decoration on the arms, includes a pair in the Arthur Leidesdorf Collection, sold anonymously, Sotheby's, London, 28 June 1974, lot 138. Another pair, sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 9 July 1992, lot 68. Further examples are illustrated in F. Lenygon, Furniture in England, London, rev. ed., 1924, fig. 101 and M. Harris, The English Chair, London, 1946, p. 142, pl. LXX.