With its distinctive fan-headed cabriole legs and pierced diamond-form stretchers, this settee can be attributed to Thomas Roberts based on its close similarity to the suite supplied to Sir Robert Walpole (d.1745) for the Yellow Drawing Room at Houghton, Norfolk. The commission for the 'Yellow Caffey' suite, billed to Walpole by Roberts on 24 April 1729, included '12 fine wallnuttree Chair frames...a walnuttree Settee frame' and 'a large and strong wallnuttree Couch frame'. The daybed featuring nearly identical stretchers is illustrated in situ in the Stone Hall at Houghton in C. Latham, In Country Homes, London, 1909, vol. III, p. 357. A pair of side chairs from the suite was sold Works of Art from Houghton, Christie's London, 8 December 1994, lot 128 (£69,700).
While some uncertainty exists regarding the precise identity of Thomas Roberts, it is almost certain that he was a member of the Roberts dynasty working at the sign of 'The Royal Chair', Marylebone, founded by another Thomas Roberts (1685-1714). Upon the latter's death in 1714, he was succeeded by Richard Roberts (fl. 1714-29), presumably his son, as carver and joiner to the Royal Household. Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert have concluded that with Richard Roberts' death, another Thomas Roberts, perhaps his son or brother, took over the family workshop ( The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986). The Roberts family worked extensively at the Royal Palaces, supplying a huge amount of daily furnishings, as well as furnishings for state ceremonies. Their distinguished clientele also included Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu at Boughton, and William, 1st Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth.