The settee was commissioned by Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland (d.1865), First Lord of Queen Victoria's Admiralty, and formed part of his aggrandisement of Alnwick carried out in the mid 19th century under the direction of Anthony Salvin. It was designed for Alnwick's magnificent drawing room, whose Renaissance enrichments reflected the Duke's wish to promote the Arts in the Capitoline Museum, and wrote to him about the importance of - 'This subject which I hold to be of national importance, that is to promote a more extensive system of artistic instruction in England in that style of decoration'.
During the 1851 International Exhibition, he opened to the public the great saloon of his London mansion with its walls hung with fine 18th century copies of celebrated Italian master pieces. He also sent his Alnwick craftsmen to London in 1860 to study the works of art shown at that year's International Exhibition.
The Duke's comfortable and richly buttoned drawing room settee, designed in the antique manner with fluted and pearl-wreathed legs, was supplied en suite with another settee, a pair of small sofas and a large central Ottoman. They were upholstered ensuite with the ricly figured silk curtains, and described in the 1867 inventory as 'Spring Stuffed and covered in figured satin Ensuite with Curtains finished in the burnished gold'.
It is likely that the suite was provided by the celebrated court cabinet-makers Messrs Holland & Sons of Mount Street, who had scored notable success at the International exhibitions of the 1850s for their Renaissance exhibits.