There were three different but very similar types of 'French elbow chair' supplied to Hackwood in the early 1760s. The 'French' description used in the 1765 inventory refers to their rococo style with cabriole legs rather than their place of manufacture. In the 1765 inventory they were divided between the 'Best Drawing Room', 'His Grace's Dressing Room', 'The Bed Chamber Adjoining', and 'The Study'. No distinction was made between the three different types. In each room they were accompanied by stools, presumably en suite but not visible in early photographs. In addition, a sofa was inventoried in 'His Grace's Dressing Room' and is almost certainly the one shown in a bedroom in a photograph taken in 1935. The inventory shows that the 'French' chairs were used in the principal rooms, particularly the Duke's, and that other bedrooms, including the Duchess's, were furnished with the plainer rectangular 'Stuff'd Back and Seat Chair.. Elbow Ditto..and Stool'. In the Hackwood house sale in April 1998 the plain side chairs were lots 15 and 16, and for example some armchairs were lots 113-115 and a stools lot 378.
All three types of chair were of the same quite small size with serpentine crest-rails and cabriole legs. These are the most ornate type, which were not represented in the house sale, where simpler chairs were lots 79-83.
The two lots being offered here have serpentine aprons. This is a very distinctive feature and corresponds to a much more ornate set of chairs supplied by Thomas Chippendale for Dumfries House in 1759 (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, p. 86, pl. 139). A number of chairs of this type have been sold, some of which may have been originally at Hackwood. These include one sold anonymously, Christie's New York, 20 January 1996, lot 543.
One particular Hackwood model, with scrolled seatrails, corresponds to a set formerly at Tabley House, Cheshire, built in the 1760s for Sir Peter Leicester, Bt., (d. 1770). Others of this Hackwood Tabley model were sold at Christie's London, 24 February 1994, lot 189; Phillips London, 24 February 1994, lot 71; and a side chair was sold by David Style, Esq., Wateringbury Place, Kent, Christie's house sale, 1-2 June 1978, lot 549.