This 'antique' chair form, with looped shield-back, appears to have been introduced in the 1770s by the architect James Wyatt (d.1813); while the feather-enriched splat was popularised by Hepplewhite & Co.'s, Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788. A related sketch for a 'Drapery and Feather' back chair also features in Gillows' 1788 Estimate Sketch Book (L. Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs, Royston, 1995, fig.273). While a related mahogany chair-back, with beribboned feathers like the present chairs, is illustrated in Gillows' late 18th century watercolour sketchbook (S. Stuart, 'Gillows of Lancaster and London as a designer source for American chairs', Antiques, June 1999, pp. 866-875, pl. XIX ).
The pattern of the present chairs, with their husk-festooned 'Prince of Wales' feather badges, corresponds to that of a suite of four armchairs and a 'chair-back' settee formerly in the collection of the Earl of Iveagh at Pyrford Court, Surrey (sold by the late Earl of Iveagh, Pyrford Court, Christie's house sale, 4-5 June 1968, lot 103). A pair of armchairs of the same pattern were exhibited at the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, June 1972, by H. C. Baxter & Sons.