The design of the frame and arms of this sofa corresponds to a pattern by Gillows of Lancaster and London dated March 1785 for an open armchair with anthemion-pierced back (preserved in the Estimate Sketch Book, Westminster Public Library). The basic pattern, however, was clearly in existence somewhat earlier, featuring as early as 1775-80 on the trade card of Vickers and Rutledge of Conduit Street, London (reproduced in A. Heal, The London Furniture Makers, London, 1953, p.72, pl.9).
A suite of white-painted and parcel-gilt seat-furniture of this pattern was acquired by Lyonel, 5th Earl of Dysart for Ham House, Surrey in the 1770s (P. Thornton, 'Ham House', Furniture History, 1980, fig.188, reproduced here). Another identical suite comprising armchairs and matching window-seats was supplied by Gillows to George, 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley (d.1827) for Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire. Now at Houghton, they are illustrated in P. Macquoid, The Age of Satinwood, London, 1908, figs.102 and 115. Three pairs of armchairs of this pattern, originally from Roche Court, Wiltshire, were sold the property of a Lady, Christie's London, 9 July 1998, lots 81-83.