Antonio Landucci - Set of Seven Armchairs (Poltrone), about 1773

Attributed to Antonio Landucci (active 1770 - 1783, Rome)

Set of Seven Armchairs (Poltrone), about 1773

Gilded and painted walnut , 108 x 67.5 x 50 cm (42 1/2 x 26 9/16 x 19 11/16 in.)


In the center of this gallery are six finely carved and gilded chairs made for the Borghese Palace, in Rome. The remarkably intricate disks and swags around the legs recall ancient Roman decoration. Unusual for chairs of this type, the splats on the back are painted with flowers, insects, and small animals – each chair with a different pattern. Designed to be placed against the wall as room decoration, rather than actually used, these chairs still have their original seat caning. The writer Henry James saw them in Venice and called them “the loveliest I ever saw.” But added, thinking of Isabella Gardner: “They are not a symbol of her attitude – she never sits down.”