Forming the pair to the encoignure offered anonymously at Sotheby's New York, 4 November 1989, lot 295 and illustrated in Delorme, op. cit, plate IV, this hitherto untraced encoignure was almost certainly acquired in Paris by the celebrated entrepreneur and patriot Colonel James Swan. One of the Sons of Liberty to participate in the Boston Tea Party in December 1773, a veteran of Bunker Hill during the Revolution and subsequently a member of the Massachusetts legislature, Colonel Swan travelled to France in 1787 intent upon recouping losses incurred through failed real estate speculations. During the years after the fall of the Monarchy, he was established as a successful provisioner for the French Government through letters of introduction by Admiral Jean-Baptiste d'Estaing, the marquis de Vaudreuil and the marquis de Lafayette.
Ever a businessman ready for an advantagous transaction, following the National Convention's decree to sell the contents of the Royal chteaux of Marly, Saint-Cloud and Fountainebleau during 1793 and 1794, Swan procured a number of French furnishings that are now part of the Swan Bequest to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Perhaps most interesting amongst these is a bed and suite of seat-furniture with fragments of a Garde-meuble label, made by Jean-Baptiste Sen for the apartment on the Place de la Concorde of Marc-Antoine Thierry, Baron de Ville d'Avray, the well known bon vivant and keeper of the Garde-meuble from 1783-1792. Not all of Swan's French furniture has been firmly documented and traced, leaving their early provenance unclear. For example, the partner to the current encoignure was first recorded as belonging to Swan when Richard Codman illustrated it in his memoirs (R. Codman, Reminiscences, Boston, 1923). While there has been no secure identification of the early history of Swan's pair of encoignures, they were undoubtedly included in one of the Revolutionary sales of either aristocratic property, or that of the Royal garde-meuble.