The 'French' armchairs are fretted in the Gothic fashion promoted in Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1762, pl. XIX. They are unusual in being executed in walnut rather than mahogany which was almost ubiquitous at the time and strongly implies that they are not the work of a London maker. The use of ash secondary timber further suggests a north-country or Scottish origin. Interestingly Chippendale's patterns formed the basis for the work of Alexander Peter, the Edinburgh cabinet and chair-maker who worked extensively at Dumfries House alongside Thomas Chippendale.
A suite of seat furniture with pierced stretchers was almost certainly commissioned by Thomas Stapleton for Carlton Hall, later Carlton Towers, York, probably soon after 1750. A set of eight closely related armchairs with the same pattern of blind and pierced fretwork, formerly at Moor Park, Hertfordshire, were sold anonymously Christie's, London, 8 December 1955, lot 14 and a pair was later in the New York collection of Mr. & Mrs. J. E. Treleaven. A pair of mahogany armchairs almost identical to the lot offered here was sold anonymously Sotheby's, London, 19 November 1993, lot 75 (£10,925 including premium).