This chair is a fascinating early example of hardwood furniture of Cantonese manufacture executed to Western designs. As Carl Crossman explains in his The China Trade, this furniture may have been made to special order, perhaps for a member of the British East India Company posted in China or on Macao, another company outpost. Furniture of this early date is a rarity as supported by the Company's ledgers which only lists a few dozen pieces per year during the 1720's and
1730's. The incised number on the seatrail of this chair indicates it
was once part of a larger set. Another of this model was sold Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 4 April 1970, lot 149. A pair of virtually identical form was sold Christie's London, 14 April 1988, lot 126. Other similar examples are illustrated in C.L. Crossman, op.cit., Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1991, pp.231 and 233, pl.83-85.
This chair pattern directly copies an English prototype of the same date which may be attributed to the workshop of cabinet-maker Giles Grendey. An armchair of this design from the Percival Griffiths Collection is illustrated in R.W. Symonds, English Furniture From Charles II to George II, 1929, p.149, fig. 95, and was later in the collection of Frank Crozer Knowles, sold in these Rooms, 22 October 1988, lot 243 ($220,000).