An identical pair of chairs, one stamped B. HARMER (and the other HM) and possibly from the same set, was sold at Christie's London on October 7, 1993, lot 97. One of these chairs is illustrated in C. Gilbert, ed., Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, p.257, fig. 471.
A versatile and prodigious chairmaker, B. Harmer worked for the leading English interior decoration firms of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century, and although his full identity remains unknown, he was undoubtedly the master of a large workshop as his stamp appears on a number of highly-fashionable chairs dating from c.1795 to 1810, including hall chairs at Petworth and a magnificent suite of dolphin seat furniture attributed to Marsh and Tatham from Powderham Castle (sold at Christie's, London on July 5, 1990, lots 50 and 51 and on December 5, 1991, lots 222 and 223). The design of this pair of chairs, like other examples of Harmer's work, reflects the new, more archaeologically correct style introduced in England in the last years of the eighteenth century in emulation of the late Louis XVI and Directoire styles. This French influence was reflected in Henry Holland's furnishing and decoration of Carlton House, the London residence of the Prince of Wales, and in the Thomas Sheraton's designs in the 'newest taste' in his The Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book (1791-94). With their rectilinear form, spiral-fluted legs, and back flanked by separate columnar stiles, these chairs relate closely to Sheraton's designs for drawing room chairs illustrated in Plate XXXII of Part IIII of his Drawing Book as well as to those for chair legs depicted in Plate XIV of the 'Accompaniment' to this book.