The inverted heart-shaped medallion back enclosed by guilloche and surmounted by a patera encircled by husks on this pair of armchairs conforms to one of Thomas Chippendale's de luxe workshop patterns of the 1770s.
The most notable examples of this pattern can be found on eight armchairs and a pair of sofas in the Queen's Collection, and now at Clarence House (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, p. 109, pl. 185 and p. 201, fig. 365, and Jane Roberts, George III & Queen Charlotte, Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004, pp. 275-276, pl. 281). The suite, attributed by Gilbert to Thomas Chippendale, was almost certainly supplied to H.R.H. Prince William Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester. Interestingly, some copies of the third edition of the Director (1762) bore a dedication to the Duke, younger brother of George III. A set of four almost identical to the latter suite was sold anonymously, Sotheby's New York, 23 September 1989, lot 233 ($253,000).
The design of the chair's back as well as the husks on the curved supports is closely related to that found on the extensive suite supplied by Chippendale to Sir Penistone Lamb for the Saloon at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire circa 1773 (Gilbert, op.cit., vol. I, p. 263 and vol. II, p. 11, fig. 21 and p. 109, fig. 186). Chippendale never repeated an exact decorative permutation and had a keen eye for 'variety'. This may explain why the fluted frieze and curved back legs of these armchairs differ from that found on the later examples, but are nevertheless stylistic elements seen on chairs of the Director period.
Although lacking the secure documentation of an original bill, the attribution to Chippendale is further enhanced by the existence of cramp-cuts and the vertical exposed back strut, features associated with chairs emanating from Chippendale's workshop.