The parlour chair, with 'tassel' back reflects the early eighteenth century fashion for festoon window-curtains reefed with tasselled cords looped around wall-pins. Wrapped by Roman acanthus and serpentined in the French 'picturesque' fashion, it displays a Venus-shell cartouche, above a 'vase' splat. The latter is ribbon-fretted with 'gothic' cusps and typifies the variety of ornament popularised by the St. Martin's Lane cabinet-maker and upholsterer Thomas Chippendale (d.1779), whose designs for 'Household Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste' featured in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754; and in Household Furniture in the Genteel Taste for the Year 1760, issued by A Society of Upholsterers.
The chair legs terminate in claws, which would generally have followed those of an accompanying 'Roman' marble-topped sideboard-table. Such ornament was inspired by Ovid's 'Metamorphoses', and the claws served to recall Jupiter's sacred eagle, and the History of Jupiter and his Trojan cup-bearer Ganymede.
The same splat pattern features on a related claw-footed parlour chair illustrated in J. Kirk, The American Furniture and the British Tradition to 1830, New York, 1982, fig. 897.
Another set of six chairs with the same back from the collection of Dr. Frank Crozer Knowles, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, were sold in these Rooms, 22 October 1988, lot 230, and again sold anonymously in these rooms, 20 January 1995, lot 326.