Originally part of a suite comprising at least four open armchairs, a pair of bergères and a sofa, the present lot was probably supplied to William Petty Fitzmaurice, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne (1737-1805) who in 1765 bought Shelburne House when he was Foreign Secretary during the Chatham Administration following his marriage to Lady Sophia Cartaret. Designed by Robert Adam (d.1792) in Berkeley Square, London, it was sold by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (d.1792), the incumbent Prime Minister.
John Linnell (d.1796) together with his father William (d.1763) created one of London's largest cabinet-makers firms of the 18th century, supplying the Marquis with furniture between 1763-1796 at Lansdowne House, where this confidant possibly could have originated from. The property was in proximity to Linnell's firm, also in Berkeley Square which facilitated an ongoing relationship between patron and cabinet-maker who also furnished the Marquis' country seat Bowood House, Wiltshire. It was John Linnell who provided the furniture for the property's arguably most well-known room; the State Dining Room, now preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who acquired it in 1931 following a decision to sell the house and its contents by Lord Shelburne's heirs in 1930 although unfortunately the original furniture no longer survives. This confidant, originally painted white and green with gilding is similar to a pair of sofas, probably supplied between 1775 and 1778 by John Linnell for the 5th Duke of Argyll at Inveraray Castle and relate closely to his design in the illustration circa 1773 for a yellow-framed and blue upholstered sofa (see Hayward and Kirkham, William and John Linnell, Eighteenth Century London Furniture Makers, London 1980, fig.255, p.129). It is interesting to note that John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, the previous owner of the house, paid Thomas Chippendale (d.1779) to supply some furnishings including carved French sofas and armchairs painted in green and white (see Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, Volume one, London 1978, p. 255).