The epitomy of French taste during the 1780's, the elegantly-curved back of this chair is a variant of a design that subsequently appeared in A. Hepplewhite and Co., The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788, pl. 6. In the design the Apollo sunflower fills the back but in execution it is reduced to a Palmyra-type central motif with stylised waved sun-rays radiating from it. Hepplewhite comments that the design is particularly suitable for 'painted or japanned work'.
One of a pair of related chairs with similar japanned decoration is illustrated in R. Edwards and P. Macquoid, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, rev.ed., 1954, vol. I, p. 299, fig. 236. They were sold by David Style, Esq., Wateringbury Place, Maidstone, Kent, Christie's house sale, 31 May - 2 June 1978, lot 271.