This immensely distinguished model of early 18th century hall chair is indelibly associated with the China Trade of the East India Company of London. It seems probable that the backs and seats were executed in China, often for patrons connected with the Company, and then mounted on japanned legs in London. The best known suite of the type is that which was supplied to Sir William Heathcote (1693-1751), also an East India merchant, probably for Hursley Lodge, Hampshire. The Heathcote suite has Chinoiserie landscapes on the backs as well as coats-of-arms, and were first sold in these Rooms, 26 May 1938, lot 118. Now split, a Heathcote pair was most recently sold at Sotheby's London, 29 November 2002, lot 152 (£96,850).
The Heathcote suite and the present pair share the shell-centred front seatrail, a more contemporary motif than the baroque cartouche that appears on others, for example the suite supplied to Sir Gregory Page, Bt., for Wricklemarsh, Kent, and sold by James Christie in 1783.
The red shield that is all that remains of the coat-of-arms in the back of these chairs indicates that the man for whom they were made was married to an heiress.