This chair is designed in the George II 'Roman' manner to evoke the banquet of the Gods and Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'.
Its antique-fluted and ribbon-fretted back terminates in a voluted whorl to echo the rails, whose fretted ribbon-guilloches of wave-scrolls and Roman acanthus recall the triumphal water-birth of the nature deity Venus. Likewise the trussed legs are enriched with beribboned and bubbled cartouches of acanthus and terminate in eagle-claws to evoke Jupiter's attendant eagle and the history of the gods' cup-bearer Ganymede.
This ornament harmonises with that of a Ditchley parlour, which was designed in the late 1730s by Henry Flitcroft (d.1769), who served as 'Clerk of Works' at George II's London palaces and was assistant to the artist William Kent (d.1748), who held the post of the King's 'Master Carpenter'. The room frieze, for instance, displays wave-scrolls alternating with cornucopiae that are sacred to the harvest deity Ceres, while the room's overmantel frame is crowned by a bubbled cartouche enriched with a 'Venus' shell drawn by dolphins. The chimneypiece, whose scrolled truss pilasters bear heads of Ceres, was supplied in 1740 by the sculptor Henry Cheere (J. Cornforth, 'Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire - II', Country Life, 24 November 1988, p. 83, fig. 3).
Although there is no obvious connection between the present owner's family and Ditchley, it is possible this chair is part of the set of '10 Mahogany chairs with red morocco seats and four elbow chairs' listed at Ditchley in the 1743 inventory, which were sold in Sotheby's house sale, 26 May 1933, lots 140 and 141. Another chair of this model was sold Christie's New York, 18 October 2001, lot 83 ($12,925). As considerable payments were made to the Soho cabinet-maker and upholsterer William Bradshaw (d.1775) in the years 1740-1742 it seems possible that it was he who supplied these chairs (ibid., p. 83).