The Netherlandish 'cabriolet' chair is designed in the French got antique, with its Roman 'tablet' back crowned by a laurel-festooned sacred urn which evokes lyric poetry's triumph and 'sacrifices at love's altar in antiquity'. With their antique-flutes enriched with Apollonian laurels and Venus pearls, and their hermed-pilaster legs, these side-chairs are closely-related to those executed in the Amsterdam workshops of Johan Jacob Breytspraak (d.1795) who advertised his furniture in 1772 as being 'in the latest fashion' ( C.F. Hofstede, Nederlandse meubelen, 2005, fig. 346).
Johan Breytspraak can be regarded as one of the most successful furniture-makers in Amsterdam in the last quarter of the 18th Century, whose workshop - with 19 workbenches at the time of his death in 1795 - may have been the largest in that city. (R.J. Baarsen, De Amsterdamse meubelloterijen, Zwolle, 1992, p. 161, note 89). Breytspraak, who came from Leipzig, became master in circa 1770 and probably achieved a considerable amount of acclaim from the off-set of his career. Already in May 1772, he advertised his furniture as 'in the latest fashion' and specifically mentions 'een konst Cabinet met diversche Ornamenten, op het konstigste ingelegd...' (inlaid). (R.J. Baarsen, 'Andries Bongen (ca. 1732-1792) en de Franse invloed op de Amsterdamse kastemakers in de tweede helft van de 18de eeuw', Oud Holland 102 (1988) p. 45). Breytspraak was one of four German cabinet-makers who worked in this technique in Amsterdam, and the considerable amounts of exotic timbers listed in the inventory compiled after his death, suggest that he produced large quantities of marquetry furniture throughout his career, in addition to more traditional, elegant mahogany items of furniture. Breytspraak is believed to the maker of a set of marquetry chairs in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
A set of eight dining chairs attributed to J. J. Breystspraak and possibly from the collection of Justina Maria Wilhelmina, Baroness van Nagell tot Ampsen, née Baroness Rengers (1795-1963), was sold anonymously, Christie's, Amsterdam, 17 December 1997, lot 350 (94,562 Nlg.) A further related set of twelve dining-chairs featuring similarly carved legs was sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 5 March 2003, lot 169.