An impressive and beautifully carved ensemble of two armchairs and two sofas designed by Filippo Pelagio Palagi and executed by furniture maker Gabriele Capello “Moncalvo”.
The front legs (two on each armchair and four on each three-seat sofa) in the shape of lions-paw feet; the back legs of sabre form. At the height of the seating rail, the legs are enveloped in acanthus leaves and restricted by a fluted band. On the part above the seating rail a lion’s head emerges from the leaves.
On top of the lions head a rolled piece of textile attached to what seems to be a breast plate of Egyptian inspiration supports the front part of the armrests in the form of a rolled palmette. The fluted armrests are attached to the back of both chairs and sofas in a wealth of foliate ornament and palmettes.
The carving on both seating rails and the upper part of the back shows a variation of rosettes, laurel and acanthus leaves and highly stylised flowers as well as palmettes.
The back posts between the seats of the sofa show oval rosettes flanked by palmettes.
Filippo Pelagio Palagi (Bologna 1775 – Turin 1860).
Pelagio Palagi was a painter and sculptor with a great passion for the architecture of classical antiquity. In 1806 he moved to Rome and worked together with Antonio Canova, who then was president of the Academia Italiana. The time spent in Rome helped deepen Palagi’s interest in Egyptian, Greek and Roman archaeology. In 1815 he moved to Milan where he worked mainly as a painter, but by 1819 he was employed by the owners of the villa Tittoni Traversi in the renovation of both exterior and interior of the house. From then on, Pelagio Palagi worked mainly as an architect and designer.
His fame reached the Savoy court and in 1832 Carlo Alberto of Savoy-Carignano, King of Sardinia, asked Palagi to take on the renovation project of the interiors of both Palazzo Raconnigi close to Turin and the Palazzo Reale in the city itself.
King Carlo Alberto entrusted Palagi with the updating of both interior and furniture so the splendour of the Savoy palaces would be comparable to that of the other European courts.
“Updating”, of course, meant introducing the Empire style, which by 1830 was already slightly out of date but, for a young king, was still a most suitable style to impress with.
The king made an enlightened choice when he invited Palagi to take on the renovation, for Palagi’s knowledge of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquity’s