Carlton Towers is the ancient home of the Stapleton family, who in 1840 successfully claimed the Beaumont barony, extinct since 1507. The house was much altered during the long tenure of Thomas Stapleton from 1750 to 1821. He continued the process started by his father of modernising the Jacobean interiors and from 1770 built the huge east wing, which was again altered for the 9th Lord Beaumont in the 1870's, the exterior by E. W. Pugin and the interior by J. F. Bentley. A large suite of twelve armchairs, two window seats and two sofas, were almost certainly commissioned for Thomas Stapleton's house (some of the suite was sold by the Trustees of the Beaumont Settlement, removed from Carlton Towers, Yorkshire, in these Rooms, 9 July 1992, lots 41-43). Eight of the chairs and two window seats (which have slightly different fretwork, as does one of the settees) are listed in the Library on the south front (now part of the Picture Gallery) in an inventory (p. 52) taken on the death of the 8th Lord Beaumont entitled Catalogue of All the Furniture and Effects in Carlton Hall, Selby, 1854. The two sofas are listed on page 48. The inventory reads:
8 Mahogany Easy Chairs with stuff'd pad Arms & Seats & backs covered in crimson Utricht (sic) velvet & crimson silk fringe & gold & the frames of the Sofa to match Do carved fret work and brass nails in do as finished & on castors
The greek key fret was a popular architectural motif with Inigo Jones and William Kent. It also appears on the legs, frame and stretchers of an open armchair designed by Kent, illustrated in John Vardy, Some designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent, London, 1744, pl. 43. It is perhaps more significant that it appears as a very bold base frieze on half of a design for a clothes chest in Chippendale, op.cit., pl. CI (1754) and pl. CXXVIII (1762).