These chairs correspond to Gillows’ 'Garforth pattern', which first appeared in 1795 and was probably an adaptation of Georges Jacob's design of circa 1792 for Marie-Antoinette's dairy at Rambouillet. Gillows made the chairs not only in mahogany but also japanned and they appear to have been particularly popular among the genteel, professional and merchant classes in the north of England. In 1796 the Earl of Strafford purchased six white and green japanned chairs for Wentworth Woodhouse, and Sir William Gerard ordered thirty-six mahogany chairs for Garswood New Hall, Lancashire. While the design featured a round or 'compass-fronted' seat (see the set of twelve sold anonymously, Christie’s, London, 29 April 2010, lot 86, £46,850 including premium) they were also made with a more conventional square seat. A set of fourteen chairs of this pattern with square seats are illustrated in S. Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840, Woodbridge, 2008, p. 195, pl. 166.
The design was adopted by the influential architect/designer Sir John Soane (d. 1837). He commissioned the set of twenty 'mahogany trellis chairs' for the Governor’s Room at The Bank, supplied in 1809 by the cabinet-maker David Bruce (d. 1823) of Aldersgate Street, London (see M. Jourdain, 'Early 19th-Century Furniture at the Bank of England’, Country Life, 3 October 1947, p. 676, fig. 2). Soane owned a pair of armchairs of the Bank design at his own home at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, now the Soane Museum, and adapted the design for a set of dining-chairs supplied by John Robins in 1821. Robins' invoice described these as 'trellis back chairs moulded & Paneled [sic] seats French stuffed covered with black Spanish Morocco red welts [and] stout turned feet to pattern’.