These 'Louis XVI' chair-frames, with medallion-cartouche backs and fluted columnar legs, are embellished with flowered tablets, voluted scrolls and beribboned mouldings of twined-thread and pearled guilloche in the 'antique' manner popularised by the furniture-engravings of the architect Jean-Charles Delafosse (d.1789), which were published in conjuction with his Nouvelles Iconologies, 1768-71.
With their pegged construction of quadrant-headed leg and stepped rosette block, they relate to the documented oeuvre of the Parisian-trained menuisier Franois Herv of John Street, London. A partner of John Meschain, 'Cabinet and Chair maker', Herv enjoyed the patronage of George, Prince of Wales and was employed at Carlton House between 1783-94 under Henry Holland's direction. It is, therefore, pertinent that Henry Holland was also engaged by John, Viscount Mountstuart (d.1794) to rebuild Cardiff Castle circa 1777-8.
Although related to Parisian-manufactured fauteuils of the late 1760's (such as that stamped by Sulpice Brizard, matre in 1762, illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Franais du XVIIIe Sicle, Paris, 1989, p.119), the basic arm-pattern also featured on a suite of needlework-upholstered 'cabriole' chairs supplied by the 'upholder' James Cullen (d.1779) circa 1774 for the richly-mirrored drawing-room created by the architect Robert Adam at Northumberland House, London. Cullen was certainly involved with Reilly and Cobb in importing French patterns and furniture, but his role seems to have been purely in his capacity as owner of the warehouse, and it seems much more probable that the Northumberland House chairs were executed in England (D. Owsley and W. Rieder, The Glass Drawing-Room from Northumberland House, London, 1964). While Adam was drawing up his schemes for the Northumberland room, he was also supplying designs for the decoration and furnishings of the 3rd Earl of Bute's drawing-room at Luton Park, Bedfordshire. The drawing-room pier-tables which he designed for Luton, engraved in 1772 and illustrated in R. Adam, The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, II, 1822, pl. VIII, interestingly also featured fluted columnar legs and ribbon-guilloche friezes. It is, therefore, certainly conceivable that the Bute suite of chairs was supplied for the same room.
A further set of six chairs, which may originally have formed part of the Bute suite, was sold by the Executors of the late Francis Gerald, 7th Viscount Clifden in these Rooms, 16 December 1966, lot 182.