This Dutch Indonesian chair has its circular seat raised on acanthus-wrapped feet that terminate in bacchic lion-paws in the early 18th century Roman fashion. Antiquarians of the early 19th century popularised such seats as desk chairs and dated them to the late 17th century and 'the time of William III' (H. Shaw, Specimens of Ancient Furniture, 1836, pl. 18). By the mid-19th century they became generally known as 'Burgomaster' chairs, but have since been called 'roundabout' or 'wheel' chairs (J. Veenendall, Furniture from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India during the Dutch Period, Delft, 1985). One 'wheel-chair' of this pattern, but lacking carved heads, was in the possession of J. Mallett and Son around 1900 (P. Macquoid, The Age of Mahogany, London, 1906, p. 61, fig. 49). They are listed in 18th century inventories as 'round' chairs and on occasion comprised sets of four or more. A related round seated chair features on the deck of a Dutch ship in a 1770s watercolour at the Rijksmuseum; while a contemporary Vizagapatam ivory-veneered chair of similar pattern and enriched with carved head finials, is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (A. Jaffer, Luxury Goods from India, London, 2002, pp. 75 and 74).
According to the inscription on the label on the underside of the present chair, it may once have formed part of the celebrated art collection assembled by William Randolph Hearst (d. 1951) and displayed at his various residences including Hearst Castle, Ocean House and Wyntoon in California; Riverside Drive, Manhattan; Beacon Towers, Long Island as well as Saint Donat’s in Wales. There were extensive sales of his collections in New York City beginning in 1938 (V. Kastner, Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House, 2000).