This set of richly-carved chairs, conceived in the George III French fashion, is based on an assimilation of chairs designs from the 1770s. With their arched toprail festooned with Roman husk swags, the chairs recall the contemporary taste for the antique as promoted by the leading Rome-trained architects and designers of the time. The sunflower medallion splat features prominently in a number of chair designs, notably a set supplied to Sheffield Park, Sussex, in the 1770s after a design by the architect James Wyatt (d.1813). The present set also relates to a set of chairs at Croome Court, Worcestershire, probably supplied for George William, the 6th Earl of Coventry (see C. Gordon, The Coventrys of Croome, Frome, Somerset, 2000, p.172). The Earl patronised many of the leading cabinet makers of the day, including Mayhew and Ince, Vile and Cobb, and John and William Linnell, many of whom he employed in collaboration with the young Robert Adam.
By 1788, when George Hepplewhite's The Cabinet Maker and Upholster's Guide was published posthumously, chairs featuring sunflower medallions were quite in favour. Hepplewhite's designs feature a number of splats with carved flower medallions; Plate 9, featuring one beneath a husk-festooned and arched crest-rail, is the most closely related design (see Messrs. A. Hepplewhite & Co.'s The Cabinet-Maker and Upholster's Guide, 1788, pl. 9).