The ‘set’ was, in essence, three similar pairs, each with a riot of typical pieced and carved decoration combining scrolling foliate with figures, beasts and birds, some inset with ivory.
Made c.1660-80 on the Coromandel Coast, similar chairs were held in a number of well-known collections including William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey and Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill.
Most of this harlequin set carried old paper numeric labels to frames, including one reading ‘Art Treasures Exhibition, Wrexham, 1876’.
The Art Treasures and Industrial Exhibition of North Wales and Border Counties ran for three months from July 22, 1876. It was opened by the Duke of Westminster who lent many items to the exhibition.
Although the ink inscription was now faded, the duke may have been the owner of these chairs that were later published in the 1939 book Het Hollansche Koloniale as from the collection at Eaton Hall in Cheshire. The house was sold in 1960.
They were offered for sale in Berkshire from the estate of Anthony Tooth, thought to be a descendent of London dealer Arthur Tooth (1828-1900).