This French form of 'cabriolet' chair, with Roman 'pelta' shield back was introduced in the 1770s and relates to a pattern by the architect James Wyatt (d.1813) as shown in a room elevation (see J. Cornforth and J. Fowler, English Decoration in the 18th Century, 1974, fig.13).
The shield-back armchairs correspond to a pattern in the 1786 Estimate Sketch Books of the firm of Gillows of Lancaster and London, established in 1769. The design, dated 25.10.86, was commissioned for Mr. Robert Peel, Esq. and the carving attributed to H. Gibson. Unlike other firms of the period, Gillows never published a book of furniture pattern designs under their name, however by the third quarter of the 18th century the firm was one of the principal cabinetmaking firms in London. A set of four chairs of precisely the same design was sold in these Rooms, 22 April 1999, lot 76. Interestingly, one of those chairs was inscribed to the underside in pencil R Gillow which presumbably refers to either Richard Gillow (d. 1811) or Robert II (d. 1795), sons of the company founder, Robert Gillow (d.1772) and further strengthens the attribution to this firm.
A suite of identical design was supplied for William Wyndham Grenville for his country retreat at Dropmore, Buckinghamshire which was built in 1795 by architect Samuel Wyatt. Lord Grenville served as Prime Minister to George III. While there is no documentation surrounding the furnishing of Dropmore, a design in the Gillows Estimate Sketch Book of 1796 (no. 1116) for Grenville again reinforces an attribution to this firm.
See lot 260 in this sale for a set of ten giltwood chairs of this pattern. The Gillows drawing and a photograph showing the Grenville chairs in situ at Dropmore is reproduced alongside that lot.