These elegant squab-cushioned drawing-room chairs, with reeded Grecian-scrolled frames, epitomise the 'antique' fashion introduced around 1800 by George, Prince of Wales, later George IV under the guidance of his French 'Upholsterer-in Ordinary' Nicholas Morel (d. 1830). The Great Marlborough Street cabinet-maker and upholsterer entered into his celebrated partnership with Robert Hughes around 1805, and these chairs are very similar in style to the suite designed at this period by Morel for the Hanover Square mansion of Edward, Lord Lascelles, later 1st Earl of Harewood (d.1820).
The chair-pattern appears to evolve from that of a palm-wrapped drawing-room suite, that Morel is likely to have provided for Southill Park, Bedfordshire, during the period he was employed by Samuel Whitbread II from 1798 to 1813 (F. Collard, Regency Furniture, 1985, p. 44). The latter have also been compared to Morel's 'antique' style seat furniture supplied in 1806 for Weston Park, Staffordshire (P. Rogers, 'The Remodelling of Weston Park', Furniture History, 1987, pp.11-34, and fig. 6).
An unupholstered and undecorated armchair from the Harewood suite was sold by the Earl of Harewood, Christie's, London, 15 November 1990, lot 48, and another probably from the suite, was sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 12 October 1996, lot 85. A virtually identical pair to the current lot was sold anonymously, Sotheby's, New York, 13 October 1994, lot 454.