The present chairs are identical to an armchair in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (67.63.1) and its identical companion in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (w.3-1967) . As suggested by Penelope Hunter at the Metropolitan, the armchairs most likely all belonged to a larger set. Some chairs include the signature of “C. Dixwell,” referring to Charles Dixwell. Dixwell was a London “upholder” who was apprenticed to the celebrated furniture maker George Seddon for seven years, and who is recorded to have subscribed to Sheraton’s Drawing Book in 1793. His profession included the tasks of upholsterer, furniture repairman, and undertaker. It is likely Dixwell was involved in commissioning, upholstering, and selling the armchairs in the early 19th century.
The Metropolitan Museum credits Thomas Hope as the designer and maker of these striking armchairs. By the second quarter of the 19th century, Hope had cemented his reputation as a designer and interior decorator, and he was dubbed by his contemporaries as the “furniture man” among London’s aristocratic circles. These inventive chairs are a testament to the confidence and ingenuity characteristic of Hope’s mature designs.