This richly carved settee has its serpentined frame embellished with Roman acanthus foliage and water-scalloped cartouches in the French rocaille fashion. A drawing for a similarly conceived canapé was executed by the French designer Jusète-Aurle Meissonnier for the Compte de Beilinski in 1735 (see P. Fuhring, Jusète-Aurle Meissonnier: Un génie du rococo 1695-1750, Turin, 1999, vol. II, p. 362, fig. 97). The settee corresponds to 'French easy chairs' adopted by Thomas Chippendale (d. 1779) for his St. Martin's Lane trade-label, and illustrated in his Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director of 1754. His engraving of 1759, published in the 3rd edition of the Director, 1762 (pl. XLVI), featured similar 'picturesque' ornament on a couch that was executed for the London house in Whitehall of Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke (d. 1794). The pattern of this settee corresponds to that of a pair of drawing-room armchairs and stools that remain in the collection of the Earl of Pembroke in the Single Cube Room at Wilton House, Wiltshire. These are now believed to be the armchairs sold by Mr. Robins at the landmark sale of the contents of Wanstead House, Essex, over 32 days beginning 10 June 1822, from Room 28, lots 13 and 14. The preceeding lot, 12, was described as 'A COSTLY CARVED AND GILT RAFFLE-LEAF FRAME GRECIAN SCROLL END CABRIOLE SOFA ... on French scroll feet and casters ...' though at '7 feet 6 long' it was some six inches longer than the present lot. It is therefore certainly possible that this settee together with its companion, also sold at Sotheby's, 1 May 1987, lot 53, formed part of the same commission at Wanstead. The Wilton chairs and stools are illustrated in Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture, London, 1968, figs. 187 and 199.
In January 1760, Chippendale received £42 from Lord Pembroke for his 'various designs for fitting up rooms at Whitehall'; and amongst other Chippendale items now at Wilton House, Wiltshire, are brass lanterns, which are likewise of a pattern executed in 1759 and illustrated in the Director of 1762 (pl. CLII) (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1972, vol. 11, p. 142, fig. 254).