This impressive pair of armchairs relates closely to a suite of seat furniture of circa 1770-1775 attributed to cabinet-maker John Linnell (H. Hayward and P. Kirkham, William and John Linnell, London, 1980, p.44, figs.84-85). One of the armchairs from this suite comprising chairs and settees is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (fig.1). The attribution is based on a Linnell drawing of circa 1768-1770 which shares similar features (op cit. p.43, fig.83). The chairs' swags to the tops of the legs directly copy fashionable Louis XVI furniture and features as ormolu mounts on documented examples of Linnell furniture, notably games tables supplied to both the Duke of Northumberland for Alnwick Castle and Viscount Scarsdale for Kedleston Hall (op cit. pp. 141-143, figs.279-281). The fluting of the seat-rails and bell-flower carving is mirrored in the marquetry designs found on Linnell's case furniture of this period.
A set of four virtually identical armchairs were sold Phillips, London, 8 October 1996, lot 86 (70,000 hammer price). This may be the same set of four that was sold Christie's, London, 6 July 1962, lot 128 (£750 to Spillane). A similar pair of chairs was sold, the Property of a Gentleman, Christie's, London, 10 April 1986, lot 34. Another pair, virtually identical with turned feet, was offered, the Property of a Lady, Christie's, London, 26 June 1986, lot 75.