Recorded as 'Wainscot Dining Chairs, carved with morocco seats etc -- at 4.4.0 (each) - 50.0.0' in John Williams' Invoice to 'His Grace The Duke of Bedford', dated 5 Nov. 1814. Also recorded as '12 Chairs' in the Dining Room in the 1839 Inventory.
Four of these dining chairs are shown illustrated in an oil of the Dining Room by Lady Ela Russell, circa 1880.
The Regency 'Elizabethan' pattern for the dining chairs designed for the 6th Duke of Bedford (d.1839) by the court architect Jeffry Wyatt, later Sir Jeffry Wyatville (d.1840), reflects the antiquarian taste promoted by George, Prince Regent's furnishings of the library at Carlton House, London. The latter comprised old Indian ebony chairs of seventeenth century 'back stool' form with bobbin-spindled backs, and these had long been prized by connoisseurs as 'Elizabethan'.
Wyatt had trained in William Beckford's board-of-works, and would have had his attention drawn to Fonthill Abbey's collection of ebony furniture, as well as that assembled at Longleat, where Wyatt had been employed from 1806. Wyatt's ebonised hall tables designed for Ashridge, Hertfordshire featured a similar Salamonic style of spiral-reeded legs, which were described as being in 'the manner of the days of Queen Elizabeth' (J. Lever, Architects' designs for furniture, London, 1982 p.62 fig 27). The pattern for the Endsleigh dining chairs appears to derive in part from an 'Antique Indian Chair' belonging to Sir Charles Talbot, whose Chart Park estate became incorporated in that of the connoisseur Thomas Hope at Deepdene, Surrey (The Talbot chair was later illustrated in George Smith's, Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1826, pl .146). Their seats and legs correspond to Wyatt's pattern supplied about 1813 for Endsleigh's oak banqueting hall chairs, whose backs display heraldic shields bearing the Russell arms, and whose pilasters were designed in the antique or Grecian manner (see illustration). The Wyatt hall chairs are now at Woburn. Jeffry Wyatt's design for the Dining Rooms chairs includes an inscription 'Oak Chairs for the Dining Room at Endsleigh Cottage, to be covered with leather or ....skin'
John Williams (d.1819) is recorded in G. Beard and C. Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840, FHS, 1986, as working in the parish of St. Mary Major, Exeter, Devon between 1812-19.