This magnificent model of chair originally formed part of a much larger Royal suite. Almost certainly supplied for the anti-chamber on the second floor of the di Savoia Hunting Lodge at Racconigi, they were upholstered in pink moiré with yellow trimmings. Of these, five chairs were sold by Major General Sir George Burns, North Mymms Park, Christie's House sale, 24-25 September 1979, lot 215, of which one is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, California, a pair is in the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio and the final pair are those offered here. Eight further chairs from the suite remain in the Palazzo Racconigi (one of them is illustrated in N. Gabrielli, Racconigi, 1972, p.97), and these retain their original upholstery. Finally, a further pair, upholstered in damask, was sold from the Guggenheim Collection in Venice, 1913, lot 589.
Interestingly, closely related armchairs, probably executed in the same workshop and originally supplied to the Palazzo Reale in Turin were exhibited in the Mostra del Barocco Piemontese in Turin, in 1961 (ill. pl.146), whilst related stools seem to have been recorded in the Gallery of the Hôtel Lambert in Paris.
A set of four 19th Century copies of these chairs, with paper label inscribed Schloss Berlin Zimmer and at that time thought to have been made for Frederick William II of Prussia, was sold at Sotheby's on 29 June 1989, lot 277.
Racconigi territory belonged early on to Adelaide of Savoy. With an unclear early history, after having been in the hands of the Princes of Acaja, it remained in the Savoy dynasty from 1605. In 1620, duke Carlo Emanuele I decided to bequeath Racconigi and Carignano territory to his son Tommaso. The construction of the facade according to the plans of Guarini began in 1676. After being redesigned and transformed until mid-18th Century, the caslte in its today's form consists of the heritage left by an incredible group of designers, architects and craftsmen of the 17th and 18th Century who worked on this fantastic project, epitomising the Savoy taste. Particularly interesting are the richest rooms in the castle as the dining room, the drawing room with its lavish display of sculptures and stucco work, and particularly the Salone di Diana and the chinoiserie cabinet. An incredible quantity of masterpieces including old master pictures, sculpture and furniture was on display at Racconigi. As far as the furniture is concerned, works by Ladatte, Giuseppe-Maria Bonzanigo and Pelagio Palagi were displayed.
We are extremely grateful to Gillian Wilson, Curator of Decorative Arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.