These open armchairs are designed in the ‘French’ taste as promoted by Thomas Chippendale in the third edition of the Director (1762, plate XIX). Interestingly, in the description, Chippendale suggests that ‘for the greater Variety, the Fret and Elbows are different’; the ‘Fret’ presumably the blind fret ornamentation. The fret-carved frieze on the seat-rails of these chairs relates to a fretwork interspersed with flower-heads from a book of designs by Alexander Willson, The Antique and Modern Embellisher: consisting of ornamented architraves, frizes, imposts, frets, cymas, astragals, ., 1766 (see E. White, Pictorial Dictionary of British 18th Century Furniture Design, Woodbridge, 2000, pp. 420-421, plates 6, 18). While the maker remains obscure, it is interesting to note the appearance of carved cross-hatched decoration in cartouches. Paul Saunders and his partner George Smith Bradshaw frequently incorporated carved cross-hatching on arms, seat rails and supports combined with prominent scroll feet; see a set of eight giltwood armchairs and sofa en suite made in circa 1755-60, probably by Saunders, and supplied to Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh, as part of the refurnishing and redecoration of Uppark House, West Sussex, after his return from the Grand Tour in 1752 (NT 137632.1-8, NT 137632.9). See also a mahogany and parcel-gilt sofa attributed to Saunders, possibly part of a suite commissioned by Peregrine, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kestevan (d. 1778) for Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire, sold ‘The Exceptional Sale’, Christie’s, London, 5 July 2018, lot 122. Another contender might be Messrs. Vile and Cobb, close neighbours of Chippendale in St. Martin’s Lane and cabinet-makers to the Royal family; a set of six open armchairs with similar down-swept arms were supplied to the 6th Earl of Coventry for Croome Court, Worcestershire (NT 170972.1-6).