This vase-back chair originally was made for the wealthy Salem merchant Elias Hasket Derby. The chair is part of a larger set, two pieces of which are at Bayou Bend (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), and one in the Karolik Collection (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). The design of these chairs is an enriched version of plate 2 from George Hepplewhite's "Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide" (London, 1788). The carved grape clusters in the lunette at the base of the splat and suspended from bowknots at the top of each leg are a motif traditionally associated with the work of Samuel McIntire, a Salem carver and architect.
Elias Hasket Derby, Salem, Massachusetts, died 1799; descended in the Derby family; Richardson Morris; Ginsburg and Levy, Inc., New York, until 1962