The ornate and intricate decoration on this set of chairs is carved to imitate the gilt gesso work of the Queen Anne period and also reflects the growing fascination for the East. The strapwork decoration is inspired by the designs of Daniel Marot, architect and designer to William III, and by the drawings of Jean Bérain in the late 17th century. The whimsical masks carved to the feet can be found on Chinese furniture which this English craftsman has executed in an almost humerous manner. Interesting to note however, is the fact that there is a nearly identical chair in the public collections at Temple Newsam House, Leeds (reproduced here) and illustrated in C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall, 1978, vol.II, pp. 492-493, fig.648. This chair is constructed mainly from Chinese rosewood (with walnut corner blocks and beech seat base) and has an unusually complicated construction at the junction of the stiles to the back legs. The use of the Oriental timber in the Temple Newsam chair suggests that it was produced in the East by Chinese craftsmen possibly working under the supervision of Europeans. Vilhelm Slomann illustrates a bureau displaying similar low relief carving made in Canton in 1741 and discusses this class of furniture in Burlington Magazine, November 1934, pp.201-214, pl.3. The present set however are constructed in solid walnut and display an English, pegged construction. European designs, or indeed actual pieces, were often exported to eastern production centers, either on the mainland or in satellite ports such as Manila or Batavia, as prototypes to be copied by the local makers. This may in some way explain the appearance of two near identical chairs which have been made in very different parts of the world.
Chairs of a similar design, displaying a slightly stronger Chinese influence, formed part of the renowned collection assembled by the Earls of Pembroke at Wilton House in Wiltshire. A set of twelve related chairs was sold Christie's London, The Property of a Lady of Title, 16 November 1995, lot 52, (£128,000).
A set of fourteen chairs identical to the Temple Newsam model, although catalogued as being constructed in walnut, was sold Sotheby's London, 7 May 1965, lot 95 (£200).