These Chinese-latticed parlour chairs reflect the 'Modern' style with their fusion of Roman form and 'Chinese' decoration; they are probably inspired by seat patterns in Matthias Darly’s A New Book of Chinese, Gothic and Modern Chairs (1751) (C. Gilbert, 'The Early Furniture Designs of Matthias Darly’, Furniture History Society, vol. XI, 1975, fig. 72). Their backs include 'Chinese Double brac'd Paling' as featured in William Halfpenny's Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste, plate 2 (second edition, 1752). Chippendale published nine designs for 'Chinese Chairs’ in the first edition of his Director (1754), reissued in the second and third editions (1755, 1762), and plate XXVII (illustrated) includes a closely related chair-back form to the present example. Interestingly, Darly, who humorously styled himself 'Professor of Ornament to the Academy of Great Britain', was commissioned to engrave 98 out of 147 signed plates in the Director (1754) (Gilbert, op. cit., p. 33). Chippendale and Darly shared leased premises at 'the first house on the right hand in Northumberland Court’ in 1753-4 when the Director plates were being prepared, and from where Darly’s New Book of Chinese Designs (1754) was published. Consequently in this period some of their respective designs correspond. Other designers and cabinetmakers were also enamoured by the 'Chinese’ style typified by lattice or fretwork, the leitmotif of English chinoiserie; the lozenge splat on the present chair-backs relates to one engraved in R. Manwaring, The Cabinet and Chair-Maker's Real Friend and Companion (1765, reissued 1766), pl. 10. William Chambers was also featuring more rectilinear 'Chinese’ seat-furniture with lattice work in his Designs of Chinese Buildings (1757), plates XIII, XIV. Such Chinese-railed chairs were well suited to the floral Chinese-papered bedroom apartments of the period, particularly the dressing-rooms, which served as reception and tea-rooms. The same fret and pillar pattern appears on a set of six elm chairs from Fineshade Abbey, Stamford, Lincolnshire (M. Harris & Sons, The English Chair, London, 1946, pl. LXIX). A side chair almost certainly from the same suite is illustrated in D. Nickerson, English Furniture of the 18th Century, London, 1963, p. 55, fig. 58.
Myron C. Taylor (1874-1959) succeeded J. P. Morgan Jr. as Chairman of the United States Steel Corporation in 1932. From 1939-1950, he was the Personal Representative of the President to Pope Pius XII, and until 1952, the Personal Representative of the President on Special Missions. His extensive collection ranging from 18th Century English, European and American Furniture to porcelain, silver, old master paintings and Gothic tapestries was sold in two sales over the course of five days at Parke-Bernet Galleries in November 1960, all of which had been removed from his residences at 16 East 70th Street and Killingworth, Locust Valley, Long Island.