These chairs, with their inordinate amount of carved ornament are most likely to be a late continuation of the mid-18th century rococo style, promoted by Thomas Chippendale (d.1779) in his Director, first published in 1754. The chairs are constructed in an eighteenth century manner, and with their well-executed carving could possibly date to circa 1755, as they were described when offered anonymously, Sotheby's, London, 23 November 2005, lot 71 (£150,000-250,000). Yet, the amount of fantastical ornament on these chairs suggests they date to a slightly later period, when Director designs remained popular and were often reproduced using an abundance of rococo motifs. John Weale produced Chippendale's Designs for Sconces, Chimney and Looking-Glass Frames in the Old French Style, circa 1833, reissuing original mid-eighteenth century copper plates produced by Matthias Lock and Thomas Johnson, though none by Thomas Chippendale himself (M. Heckscher, 'Lock and Copland: A catalogue of the Engraved Ornament', Furniture History Society, 1979, p.8). These chairs could possibly have been made by a provincial firm continuing the fashions of the mid-eighteenth century away from the London cabinet-making trade. A giltwood and walnut mirror at Temple Newsam House (C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Vol. I, fig. 263), probably dating to the same period as these chairs, is similar in its adaptation of an eighteenth century design with superflous rococo elements such as the gilt foliate sprays on the cresting and apron, which in the mid-18th century may well have been left plain. Firms such as Samuel Hassall of Halifax and Thomas Ferrand of York produced mirrors of similar patterns during the early Victorian period (Ibid, p. 209).
Certain elements of the chairs are very close to eighteenth century prototypes, such as the present splat pattern and carved apron which features on a pair of chairs sold for an auction record price of 1,000 guineas by Miss Patten, Christie's, London, 28 February 1902, lot 132, purchased by Partridge and later owned by Marsden J. Perry (L. Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, London, 2009, p. 91, fig. 101). One of these chairs is illustrated in P. Macquoid, The Age of Mahogany, 1906, fig. 173. The upscrolling ornament at the junction of the stiles and shoe is an unusual motif, also found on a pair of eighteenth century side chairs from the collection of J. S. Phipps, New York, sold Parke Bennet Galleries, 6 May 1960, lot 368.