This pair of chairs formed part of a set of six supplied to the antiquarian and Judge Advocate Augustine Earle (d.1762) for Heydon Hall, Norfolk. Another pair from the set from a London Town House collection sold Christie’s, London, 7 June 2007, lot 70 (£90,000 with premium); This pair had stamped journeyman's initials that correspond to the present pair. They were likely introduced around 1740 during the ancient Norfolk mansion's aggrandisement by the archictect Matthew Brettingham (d.1769), who had gained renown for the construction of Holkham Hall, Norfolk. The chair's design blends ornamental motifs associated with the Georgian "India" fashion, seen in the marbled 'vase' splats framed by serpentined 'truss' pilasters, with the Roman’ designs of William Kent (d.1748), depicted by the shells, compass seats and bacchic lion’s paw feet.
Although the work of the celebrated Clerkenwell cabinet-maker Giles Grendey (d.1780) is largely undocumented, his trade label has been recorded on chairs with related backs, with inverted shells, and with shell-capped legs terminating in 'Jupiter' eagle-claws; some of these documented examples also have journeymen’s initials (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, Leeds, 1996, pp. 241-2, figs. 434, 437 and 438).
A pair of side chairs with virtually identical back pattern but with shell-headed and acanthus-carved legs and claw-and-ball feet was offered by Theodore and Ruth Baum, Sotheby's New York, 22 October 2004, lot 407; this pair was previously sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 16 November 1995, lot 50 (£73,000). An apparently identical pair of chairs, probably from the same set, was sold by the Trustees of the S. T. Cook Will Trust, Sotheby's, New York, 16 October 1993, lot 347 ($151,000).