Filippo Pelagio Palagi (Italian, 1775–1860)
Mahogany with maplewood and mahogany inlay, upholstered with modern silk
(.1, sofa): 42 1/2 x 90 x 31 1/8 in. (108 x 228.6 x 79.1 cm); (.2 and .3, armchairs) each: 43 x 27 9/16 x 24 in. (109.2 x 70 x 61 cm)
Purchase, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1987 (1987.62.1,.2,.3)
This sofa and two armchairs are from a set of furniture that also included a daybed, six side chairs, and two additional armchairs. The set was designed by the Bolognese architect Filippo Pelagio Palagi, who in 1832 was commissioned by Carlo Alberto, king of Sardinia, to redecorate his royal palaces. One of these palaces was at Racconigi, and Palagi designed this set of furniture for the principal drawing room next to the royal bedroom.
The armchairs and sofa are distinguished by the sculptural treatment of the crest rails and by the quality and refinement of the veneering. The set of furniture was executed by Gabrielle Cappello, whose workshop produced many of Pelagi's designs for Racconigi. The silk upholstery fabric on the armchairs and sofa is a reproduction of the original covering; it was woven by the textile firm that originally produced the fabric in the 1830s.