The Infante Don Sebastián Gabriel Borbón y Braganza was the great- nephew of King Charles IV of Spain. His parents were Pedro de Borbón and the Infanta Doña Maria-Teresa de Braganza and he first married Maria Amalia of Naples, and then in 1860, Maria Cristina (1833-1902), the sister-in-law of Queen Isabella II (for further information see M. Agueda, in The Dictionary of Art, J. Turner, ed., London, 1996, 4, pp. 378-9).
The formation of his remarkable collection, however, began with inheritances from his father, and was augmented by inheriting from his great-uncle and his two wives and by the purchases he made through his friend, the painter José de Madrazo y Agudo, who acted as intermediary. The inventory of 1835 reveals that by that early date his collection was almost complete (see M. Agueda, 'La colección de pinturas del infante Don Sebastián Gabriel', Boletín del Museo del Prado, III, no. 8, May-August 1982, p. 109). The paintings were evidently stamped with the same collection mark as the present set of dining chairs, as can be seen from the illustrated mark on the back of the magnificent Meléndez 'Bodegón with bread, two sweet boxes, a green-glazed Biar honey pot and a Manises ceramic jar' which was sold Christie's, London, 7 July 2004, lot 74.
In 1837 the Infante's possessions were confiscated for political reasons, his immense library was given to the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, and his collection of paintings was exhibited in the Museo de la Trinidad, together with pictures acquired from the suppression of the religious orders. Shortly before his death, however, his property was returned to him and, after his death, a first sale was held in Pau in 1876 and another in the Hôtel Drouot in Paris in 1890. When his widow died a final sale was held in Madrid in 1902, the remainder of the collection, stayed in the possession of the heirs well into the 20th century.