The Pugin hall-seat, displaying an heraldic Pugin 'Martlet' in a flowered 'quatrefoil' escutcheon, was designed in the mid-1830s by the architect and author Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (d. 1852). It was designed for the 'picturesque' mansion Saint Marie's Grange, which he built near Salisbury, Wiltshire following his marriage in 1833 to Louisa Burton (d. 1844). While reflecting the Williamite 'Elizabethan' fashion, his chair design derives from the Renaissance sgabello or banqueting seat. Its oak frame, enriched with its crimson heraldic escutcheon, is fretted and chamfered in a romantic mediaeval style recalling the 1500s Anglo-French style and the age of Louis XII (d. 1515) and Henry VIII (d. 1547). Pugin's interest in this period had been given further encouragement through a commission to produce designs for Covent Garden's 1831 production of William Shakespeare's Henry VIII (P. Atterbury & C. Wainwright, eds, Pugin: A Gothic Passion, London, 1994, p.179). In his youth, Pugin had assisted his father Auguste Charles Pugin, who was the author of Specimens of Gothic Architecture, 1825, and whose 'Gothic Furniture' had featured in Rudolph Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 1827. In 1829, A.W.N. Pugin established his own short-lived Covent Garden workshops, where he trained 'one or two clever carvers' in the manufacture of 'all the ornamental portions of a building' (C. Wainwright, 'A.W.N. Pugin's early Furniture', Connoisseur, no. 191, 1976, pp.3-11). His medieval style was popularised through his publication of Gothic Furniture, 1835, and he later introduced it in his 'New Palace of Westminster' interiors in the 1840s.
A.W.N. Pugin's French-born father had styled himself 'le comte de Pugin' when he first arrived in London, and on occasion A.W.N. Pugin signed himself 'Augustus de Pugin'. His chair displays the fabled (never resting) Martlet device that he adopted, in keeping with his family motto 'En Avant'. His original chair design, with views of the front and side, indicates that he originally intended that his armorial should be enclosed in a painted shield. The set was to comprise four chairs according to an annotation 'Chair for Hall. 4 of these in oak'. (see Wainwright & Atterbury, eds., op. cit, no. 111). The chair's boldly tenoned trestle is fretted with a pointed arch in the style that he later popularised in True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture, 1841. It has been suggested that Pugin had the set executed through the Wardour street dealer Edward Hull, for whom he designed a range of furniture in 1834. However there is also a possibility that he employed the carvers that he himself had trained at his Hart Street workshops in Covent Garden. Pugin was delighted with his work at the Grange, and wrote to the antiquary E. J. Wilson that 'Every part [is] a compleat building of the 15th century', whose style and details 'have astonished the people here beyond measure'.
One of these hall chairs, made by Pugin, for St Marie's Grange in 1835 and later used at The Grange, Ramsgate, was included in the exhibition A.W.N. Pugin: Master of the Gothic Revival, at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, 1995-1996, exh. cat., 1995, p. 353, no. 111. It was suggested in the latter publication that these chairs demonstrate the earliest use of Pugin's tusked-tenon joint, a major feature of his 'principle of revealed construction'. The earliest dated example of such constructional technique is illustrated in an engraving for a stool in Pugin's Gothic Furniture, 1835 (Wainwright & Atterbury, eds., op. cit., p. 134, fig. 238).