These sumptuous and rare consoles combine two quintessential arts of Venice: colored glass, produced at the Murano factory since the 13th century, and sculptural carving of a particularly fluid and graceful form. While mirrors and chandeliers incorporating colored glass were a consistent aspect of Venetian production, furniture incorporating glass panels is particularly rare and must have been reserved for the most elite patrons.
They are possibly part of a suite which included a pair of glass inset armchairs sold anonymously at Christie’s New York, 2 June 2015, lot 305. They formed part of the furnishings of the Palazzo del Catajo at Battaglia Terme, near Padua, which was built for Pio Enea I Obizzi in the 16th Century. The Obizzi, an important Venetian family originally from Lucca, occupied the palazzo until the early 19th century, when it passed into the hands of the Dukes of Modena and was subsequently inherited by the ill-fated heir to the Habsburg throne, Franz Ferdinand.
One of the only other recorded examples of seat furniture incorporating blue glass panels is a chair in the Museo Vetrario, Murano (illustrated in E. Colle, Il Mobile Rococò in Italia, Milan, 2003, p. 359). Alvar González-Palacios refers to it in relation to a suite of 19th century Venetian furniture incorporating green glass panels for the Quirinale, stating the Vetrario chair is one of the ‘rarissimi’ works incorporating glass to have survived from the 18th century, and could have served as the inspiration for the Quirinale set (see A. González-Palacios, Il Patrimonio Artistico del Quirinale: I Mobili Italiani, Milan, 1996, p. 34).