The caned library bergere may have been commissioned for Maristow, Devon by Sir Massey Manasseh Lopes, Bt. (d. 1831) around 1807, when he was improving the estate with the assistance of Richard Brown, architect and 'Professor of Perspective'. Grecian-black bas-relief trophies of the poetry-deity Apollo's palm-flowered lyre are displayed on its 'Egyptian' leopard monopodia; and it reflects the French antique manner promoted by the connoisseur Thomas Hope's Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807. Similar monopodia featured in an 1804 'Library Chair' pattern illustrated in, A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture, 1808 (pl. 44), issued by George Smith (d. 1826), 'Upholder' to George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV. A cabinet-maker named William Dawson is recorded as working in Islington in 1808, but the inscription on this chair is likely to be that of a journeyman in the employ of one of the leading cabinet-makers and upholsterers such as Gillow of London and Lancaster, who in 1805 supplied a suite of seat furniture with leopard monopodia for Kinmel Park, Denbighshire (D. Fitz-Gerald, Georgian Furniture, London, 1969, no. 136). The popularity of such foliated monopodia was originally popularised by lion chimney-piece pilasters illustrated in G. B. Piranesi's Diverse maniere d'adornare i cammini, Rome, 1769.
A related chair, ebonised and parcel-gilt, and after a Smith design was sold anonymously, Sotheby's London, 12 June 2002, lot 79 (£31,070).