This pair of armchairs relates to 'French Chair' designs in the George II picturesque manner illustrated in Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, London, 1754. The pattern relates closely to a suite of five library armchairs from Swinton in Yorkshire and now attributed to the Yorkshire cabinet-makers, Wright and Elwick, who were known to have worked for William Danby at Swinton in around 1775. The suite was sold by the Earl of Swinton and the Hon. Nicholas Cunliffe-Lister, Swinton House, Masham, Yorkshire, Christie's house sale, 20-21 October 1975, lot 17. Established in 1747 by Richard Wright and Edward Elwick, this prolific partnership '[had] the honour to serve most of the Nobility & Gentry in the West and North Rideing' (G. Beard and C. Gilbert, eds., Dictionary of English Furniture-Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986, pp.1006-1008). Certainly, records indicate that they received patronage from such distinguished clients as Sir Rowland Winn at Nostell Priory, the Duke of Norfolk at Worksop Manor, Viscount Irwin at Temple Newsam House, John Spencer at Cannon Hall and most notably, the Marquis of Rockingham at Wentworth Woodhouse. The extensive Wentworth Woodhouse commission reveals a close adherence to Chippendale's designs; both Wright and Elwick subscribed separately to the first 1754 edition of The Director. For a full discussion on this commission, see the Wentworth Catalogue, Christie's London, 8 July 1998, pp.110-112.
The chair design also corresponds to a hollow-seated chair in the collection at Southill, Bedfordshire (illustrated in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, rev. edn., 1954, vol.I, p. 277, fig.160). Another single chair of virtually identical form (but with slightly less exhuberantly carved foliate clasp to the seatrail) was sold anonymously, Christie's London, 15 April 1999, lot 65. A further pair, with straight seat-rails was sold anonymously, Sotheby's London, 5 July 1997, lot 58.