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 with leaf-tip-carved frames relate closely to a design from the 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. A set of four chairs of this pattern 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). Similarly, one chair in this set bears a pencil inscription (undescipherable) which further strenghtens the Gillows attribution as it was common practice for the workmen to sign their furniture.
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. Two armchairs from the original set of eight was offered, the property of a European Collector, Sotheby's, London, 26 November 2003, lot 136.
See lot 48 in the sale for a pair of painted and parcel-gilt chairs of this same pattern.