Of exceptionally generous proportions, these side chairs were almost certainly supplied to Thomas, 1st Marquess of Rockingham (d.1750) for Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire. Originally from an extensive suite of seat-furniture which remained intact at Wentworth until 1948, the suite comprised, at least, twenty-one side chairs, and may possibly have further included an armchair, a pair of love seats en suite and a larger settee, all of which were sold as consecutive lots by the Earl Fitzwilliam, Christie's London, 15 July 1948, lots 53-57. Indeed, two of the side chairs are illustrated in the in situ photograph taken at Christie's temporary premises at Spencer House, London at the time of that sale (see the Wentworth catalogue, Christie's London, 20-22 April, p.111). A further bergere, which also passed by descent from Wentworth, was sold by the Trustees of the Olive, Countess Fitzwilliam Chattels Settlement, Christie's London, 8 July 1998, lot 25; whilst a another side chair was resold from the Rosenthal collection, Sotheby's New York, 1 October 1994, lot 172.
Thomas Watson-Wentworth, Lord Malton and later 1st Marquess of Rockingham was responsible for the creation of, arguably, the grandest of English Palladian houses. A friend of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (d.1753), he supervised every stage of the building of Wentworth Woodhouse himself, at first seeking the advice of a local architect, Ralph Tunnicliffe (d.1736) before turning to another Yorkshire gentleman-architect, Sir Thomas Robinson (d.1777) and, subsequently, to Burlington's protg Henry Flitcroft (d.1769).
At the time of Rockingham's death in 1750, the main structure of the house seems to have been finished and although work on the interiors continued well into the 1760's, when the majority of the Wright and Elwick furniture was supplied, Rockingham made payments to Wright and Elwick for furniture, specialist upholstery work and 'India' paper as early as 1748-9. It is, therefore, certainly possible that these chairs, like so much of the seat-furniture at Wentworth, were supplied by the celebrated Wakefield firm established in 1747 by Richard Wright and Edward Elwick. For a full discussion of Wright and Elwick and the Wentworth commission see the Wentworth catalogue, Christie's London, 8 July 1998, pp.110-12.