These elegant chairs, with their Grecian-stepped crestings and hermed and reeded legs capped by 'Apollo' sunflowered patterae, are conceived in the late 1780s French 'cabriolet' manner; while their caned and originally squab-cushioned frames were intended for easy movement for card-playing etc.
With their block rosette-headed leg and stepped down seat-rail at the junction of the legs, these chairs firmly relate to the documented oeuvre of the Parisian-trained menuisier François Hervé of John Street, London. A partner of John Meschat, 'Cabinet and Chair maker', Hervé enjoyed the patronage of George, Prince of Wales and was employed at Carlton House between 1783-94 under Henry Holland's direction. In December 1791, the 5th Duke of Bedford paid Hervé (45 7s 7d for unspecified work by order of Henry Holland, and this almost certainly relates to this suite of seat-furniture and those of the same model, but white-painted (lot 149). The Holland/Hervé link is further underlined at Althorp, Northamptonshire, where Lady Spencer received an invoice on January 1791 from Hervé 'by order of Messrs Holland and Daguire'.
Holland's frustrations are revealed by a letter to the Duke on 12 January 1796:- 'On the articles of furniture, was anyone to examine the endless number of drawings I have made, and witness the trouble I have had, they would not envy me my charge on that account'.