These sumptuous and rare armchairs combine two quintessential arts of Venice: colored glass, produced at the Murano facotry 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. One of the only other recorded examples of seat furniture incorporating glass panels (using the same blue color), is a chair in the Museo Vetrario, Murano (illustrated in E. Colle, Il Mobile Rococò in Italia, Milan, 2003, p. 359). In discussing a suite of 19th century Venetian furniture incorporating green glass panels by Michelangelo Guggenheim in the Palazzo Quirinale, Alvar González-Palacios refers to the chair in Murano as one of the ‘rarissimi’ works incorporating glass to have survived from the 18th century, and suggested that it served as the inspiration for the Quirinale set (see A. González-Palacios, Il Patrimonio Artistico del Quirinale: I Mobili Italiani, Milan, 1996, p. 34).
According to a label on these chairs, 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 furnishings included wall paintings by Giovanni Battista Zelotti, who worked with Veronese. 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.