This armchair can be firmly attributed to the workshop of cabinet-maker Giles Grendey (1693-1780), of St. Johns Square, Clerkenwell, London, based on virtually identical chairs that bear his workshop's label. This includes a suite with the same characteristic hipped cabriole legs, carved with knees and scrolled feet from Gunton Park, Norfolk (a side chair and armchair are illustrated in P. Macquoid, A History of English Furniture: The Age of Mahogany, London, 1906, vol.II, pp. 122-123, figs. 104, 105 and in C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, London, 1996, p. 243, fig. 437).
Other chairs of virtually this exact model and featuring the same hairy paw feet include: a library chair from the collection of Percival D. Griffiths, Esq. illustrated in H. Cescinsky, English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, vol.II, New York, n.d.,p. 86, fig 32 (with apparently uncarved back legs), another in the collection of the Hon. Sir John H. Ward., K.C.V.O., The Connoisseur, March 1921, p. 142, no. V; and a pair sold anonymously, Sotheby's London, 15 November 1985, lots 43 and 44. A further chair is illustrated in F.L. Hinckley, Metropolitan Furniture of the Georgian Years, New York, 1988, p. 69, fig. 79.
The stamp 'WF' is for an unrecorded tradesman employed in the Grendey workshop. A number of chairs from Grendey's workshop bear the stamp of his journeymen, some of which are recorded in the archives preserved in the Public Records Office. The same 'WF' stamp appears on an impressive set of dining-chairs with identical legs and scallop backs almost certainly supplied to John, 1st Earl Poulett for Hinton House, Somerset and now in the Jon Gerstenfeld collection, Washington D.C. (illustrated in E. Lennox-Boyd, ed., Masterpieces of English Furniture: The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, p.110, fig.85 and p.208, no.34). Another library chair of this form with the same stamp was sold in these Rooms, 18 October 2001, lot 232.