These chairs are copies of the celebrated suite reputedly made for the Prince of Palagonia for the Drawing Room of the Villa Palagonia at Bagheria, near Palermo, Sicily. The suite was subsequently bought by the Earl of Derby circa 1910 from Lenygon's for Derby House, Stratford Place, London and appears to have been copied, probably by Lenygons, at that time as a pair of closely related chairs with clearly English construction and mahogany seat-rails was sold anonymously in these Rooms, 27 May 1993, lot 181.
Alvar Gonzalez-Palacios noted in his 'The Prince of Palagonia, Goethe and Glass Furniture', Burlington Magazine, August 1971 that the 'PPL' monogram does not correspond with the Prince's initials and may emanate from a different commission. The Sicilian origin, however, seems to be validated by the closely related suite of furniture made for La Favorita, the pavilion built for King Ferdinand IV near Palermo circa 1799.
Surviving 18th century examples from the original suite of seat-furniture include the chair in the Art Institute of Chicago, illustrated in A. Gonzalez-Palacios, II Tempio del Gusto, vol. II, Milan, 1984, p.275, no. 629; another in the Museum for Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt; a settee in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and another settee illustrated by L. Synge, Great English Furniture, London, 1991, fig.187.