The design of these window benches in the 'French' or 'antique' manner as favoured by George, Prince of Wales, relates to designs published by A. Hepplewhite and Co. in The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788, pls. 18-20. The form of the seat-rail, legs and arm supports are virtually identical to that on a pair of chairs sold by the late Mrs. Robert Tritton, Godmersham Park, Kent, Christie's house sale, 6 June 1983, lot 125. The origin of the chairs, part of a larger suite, is unknown. A further pair from the suite was sold by the late Sir Philip Shelbourne, Myles Place, Salisbury, Wiltshire, Christie's house sale, 25-26 October 1993, lot 99.
The benches conform in their design to a 'pelta' backed chair offered by Christie's, London,4 March 2004, lot 150 (the sale had not yet been held at the time of this writing). The chair and the benches compare to a room elevation by architect/designer James Wyatt which shows a similar shield-back chair as well as the scroll end of a window bench (reproduced in J. Fowler and J. Cornforth, English Decoration in the 18th Century, London, 1974, p. 29, fig.13).
The ink inscription 'Hornby 5715' most likely refers to the name of the cabinet-maker, rather than an indication that the benches came from Hornby Castle. A numbered inventory would not have been found at this period. To date, a maker of this name has not been identified as working in the 18th century.