Cleveland House, Westminster, was named for the mistress of Charles II, Barbara Villiers, who was created Duchess of Cleveland in 1670. It was sold to John Egerton, 3rd Earl of Bridgwater (d. 1701), in 1700. His son Scroop Egerton (1681-1744), known as Viscount Brackley (1687-1701), then the 4th Earl of Bridgwater until his creation as 1st Duke of Bridgwater in 1720, occupied the house in its entirety until 1716 and leased out half of it from 1717 to a series of tenants for approximately twenty years, before taking up residence there again from 1736 until his death. His son John, 2nd Duke of Bridgwater lived only a short time after his father's death and was succeeded in February 1747/8 by his brother Francis, 3rd Duke of Bridgwater (1736-1803), who occupied the house from 1757 until his death. The 3rd (and last) Duke devoted most of his time and money in early life to the improvement of his estates in Worsley and to the building of the canals from Worsley to Manchester and from Manchester to Liverpool, but in his latter years he turned his attention to collecting pictures and restoring Cleveland House. It is probable that these chairs were acquired by him during this period. Cleveland House was renamed Bridgwater House in 1854 for Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere, the heir of the 3rd Duke of Bridgwater, and remained in the family until sold in 1948. The chairs are shown in the Saloon at Bridgwater House in a photograph of circa 1900 (C.S. Sykes, Private Palaces: Life in the Great London Houses, London, 1985, p. 289). The chairs were then moved to Mertoun, near St Boswells, Roxburghshire, until they were sold from there by the 5th Earl of Ellesmere in 1959.
The first edition of Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1753, features designs for French Chairs with similar pierced stretchers and upholstered backs in plate XVII. Pierced stretchers also feature on designs for chairs published in the 3rd edition (1762), pls. XXV and XXVII. A very closely related pair of armchairs, with the same pattern to the blind-fretwork carved on the arms and the same pattern pierced stretchers though with slightly different pierced angle brackets, was sold from the collection of John M. Brealey, Sotheby's New York, 30 April 2003, lot 687 ($72,000). A further pair without angle brackets and with carved arm terminals, covered in 18th century floral needlework, were advertised by Hotspur in Country Life, April 1987.