A rare survival as a pair and embellished with expertly carved ornament, these chairs illustrate costlier models of a form popular in 1740s Boston. As explored by Joan Barzilay Freund and Leigh Keno, the use of walnut, compass-seats, carved shells and ball-and-claw feet, were all more expensive options available on top of the price of 26 shillings for a basic standardized form. A mahogany example at Chipstone is dated to the early 1740s by Freund and Keno and with a similar crest shell with wider central lobe and ball-and-claw feet with the same deep webbing, suggests a similar date of production for this pair (see Joan Barzilay Freund and Leigh Keno, "The Making and Marketing of Boston Seating Furniture in the Late Baroque Style," American Furniture 1998 (Milwaukee, WI, 1998), pp. 24-26, fig. 43). This pair is further distinguished by their slip-seat frames, one of which is original to the chair and the other is from the same original set.
At the time of its sale in 1992, the chairs were noted to have descended in the Deblois and Wesson families. Comprising a tall-case clock, clothespress and desk-and-bookcase, several other examples Boston-made furniture from the same period have survived with a history of ownership from Gilbert Deblois (1725-1791) and he stands as a possible first owner of these chairs. One of Boston's leading merchants of his time, Deblois married Ann Coffin in 1749; while he was a Loyalist and removed to England upon the outbreak of the Revolution, his estate remained intact and passed down to his descendants (Alan Miller, "Roman Gusto in New England: An Eighteenth-Century Boston Furniture Designer and His Shop," American Furniture 1993 (Milwaukee, WI, 1993), pp. 180-182, figs. 27-30); Jonathan L. Fairbanks et al., Collecting American Decorative Arts and Sculpture 1971-1991 (Boston, 1991), p. 33, cat. 6; Sotheby's New York, January 19-21, 2007, lot 294).