These robust chairs are designed in the Roman or antique manner that was introduced around 1800 by the architect Charles Heathcote Tatham (d. 1842). Their reeded frames are enriched with the bacchic-lion ornament that is appropriate for banqueting or dining- rooms. Their lion-monopodiae derive from marble antiquities such as those from Tatham's own collection that he assembled during his studies in Rome in the mid-1790s, and which he illustrated in Etchings of Grecian and Roman Architectural Ornament, 1806. Tatham's etchings are known to have been used as a source for the most fashionable furniture; one piece, now displayed in the Parlour of Sir John Soane's Museum, and illustrated Plate 2 of the Etchings, provided the prototype for sideboard-tables supplied early in the 19th Century for Southill, Bedfordshire, by the Mount Street cabinet-makers William Marsh and Thomas Tatham, brother of the architect (see: G. Jackson-Stops, 'Southill Park', Country Life, 28 April 1994, pp. 63-64).
The full manes of the chairs' lion-heads correspond to the monopodiae of a 'sarcophagus' sideboard, which may possibly have originally formed part of the same suite as the Shrewsbury chairs and which is illustrated in Margaret Jourdain, Regency Furniture, London, rev. ed., 1965, p. 86, fig. 204. A closely related armchair pattern was engraved in 1804 and published by Thomas Sheraton in his Cabinet Encyclopaedia, 1805, pl. 1., together with a construction plan pl. L.1. The pattern features reeded monopodiae and a reed-swagged back, which, with its fluted pedestal, derives in part from the celebrated lion-footed sarcophagus of Agrippa, illustrated by G. B. Piranesi in the frontispiece to his, Campo Marzio, 1762. However, in the Sheraton pattern the central tablet displays a lion-mask that is tamed with Love's ring, while the arms merge with a hollowed seat rather than being supported by reeded columnettes, in the French manner. The upholstered bergère arms accompanying lion-monopodiae and 'hind-quarter' rear legs, also appeared in another armchair pattern engraved in 1804 and published by George Smith in A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture, 1808, p. 156