Armchair c. 1805
Designed by Dionisio Santi (active 1809 – 1830) and Lorenzo Santi (1783 – 1839
Gilt walnut and beech, silk embroidered covers with silk-covered gimp, 106.4 x 75.7 x 73cm
Accession Number LL4640
Typically Italian in its sculptural quality, this chair belongs to a large suite designed by the Santi brothers of Rome for Napoleon’s uncle Cardinal Fesch. It was probably made between 1803 and 1806 when Fesch served as the Emperor’s ambassador to the Holy See.
The suite, originally comprising some seventy pieces (of which twenty-two are now in the Lady Lever collection), is traditionally said to have been a present to Fesch from Napoleon, and was sold from the Cardinal’s house in Paris in 1816. The embroidered covers, though in the Empire style, were added after this sale for the new owner, George Watson Taylor.