The design for these dining-chairs was discovered in an album of drawings by the late 18th Century architect James Wyatt (d.1813) in the collection of the Vicomte de Noailles in Paris. The discovery of this design reinforced an earlier link between these chairs and Sheffield Park, a house where James Wyatt worked extensively in the late 1770s, and the likely date for the design and manufacture of the chairs themselves. The first recorded reference to these chairs, in the 1950s, noted that they came from Lord Stanley of Alderley, the heir to the Sheffield title when the last Lord Sheffield died in 1909 without legitimate heirs. The 1950s reference, which appeared in an insurance inventory, long predates the discovery of the Wyatt design and thus strongly supports the probability that the chairs came from Sheffield Park.
Wyatt's inspiration for the interlaced hoop back on these chairs and other related designs is not known but it is possibly derived from a printed design that was re-issued in 1766 by the printseller Robert Sayer from an original published in 1753 in Six New Designs of Chairs (see: C. Gilbert, 'Smith, Manwaring, Sayer and a newly discovered set of designs', Furniture History, 1993, pp. 129-133). The Wyatt back pattern and the Sayer design share the distinctive out-scroll at the base of each stile. The source for the Sheffield Park design clearly appeared again in Wyatt's work. A set of chairs designed by him, also in the late 1770s, for Sir Charles Sedley's Palladian temple at Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, reinterprets the design with Etruscan-style painted decoration on a satinwood frame. The Nuthall set are clearly intended for a very different decorative scheme and are of a different construction than the Sheffield Park set but their derivation is the same. The Nuthall Temple chairs were sold at Christie's London on 6 July 1995, lot 175, but at the time of printing that catalogue the Nuthall provenance was not known.
The set of fourteen chairs that was formerly exhibited in the Dining-Room from Lansdowne House, now at The Metropolitan Museum, New York, was sold anonymously, in these Rooms, 11 November 1999, lot 50 (£474,500 inc. premium).