The chair's elegant French serpentine frame evolved from the Huguenot ornamentalist William De la Cour's First Book of Ornament published in 1741. The pattern book illustrated related chair designs with folded-ribbon splats, scallop-centred crests with flowered scrolls and carvings which included the nature-goddess scallop shell combined with Roman foliage. The designs of De la Cour (d.1767) who became Master of the Edinburgh Trustee's Academy in 1760, played an influential role on St Martin's Lane style of the mid-eighteenth century (see: E. White, Pictorial Dictionary of 18th Century Furniture Design, Woodbridge, 1990, p.59).
The chair is identical, with the exception of the padded seat, to one from the celebrated Samuel Messer Collection, sold Christie's, London, 5 December 1991, lot 58 (as purchased from Ronald Lee in 1958). Samuel Messer formed his collection in the first half of the 20th century, heeding the advise of the furniture historian Robert Wemyss Symonds. Symonds, who devoted the greater part of his life to the study of English furniture, established himself as perhaps the greatest living authority on the subject. With a background in architecture, he was able to advise on the arrangement of furniture, as well as the selection of individual pieces, and took an almost curatorial approach to the collections he helped to form, carefully guiding their development and display. The chair displays the fine execution, beauty of design and glowing patina that exemplified the Messer collection and, in essence, set a benchmark for top collectors today.