Designed in the goût Etrusque fashionable in the 1780s, this oil lamp garniture features a lightly clad youth and his companion studying by the light of Roman lamps, representative of La Philosophie and L'Etude, that were probably first executed in porcelain for a lampe antique in 1780 by the Sculpteur du Roi Louis-Simon Boizot (d. 1809). Boizot succeeded Etienne Falconet as Director of Sculpture at the Royal Sèvres Manufactory in 1773 and later worked in conjunction with the celebrated bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (E. Bourgeois, Le Biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, vol. II, p. 22). A design for an oil-lamp with the figure of L'Etude features in a drawing of circa 1785, attributed to Pierre-Phillippe Thomire (now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris).
The popularity of this model as far afield as Russia is underlined by Jean-Laurent Monier's painting of Czarina Elizabeth Alexejewna (1779-1826), which shows her standing by a mantelpiece with an oil lamp after Boizot's design beside her (an engraving after Monier's painting is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer, P. Pröschel, et al., Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 294, ill. 4.17.4). The lamp shown in the painting might be identified as one of the pair preserved at Pavlovsk (E. Ducamp, ed., Pavlovsk: The Collections, Paris, 1993, 5. 192, cat. 42).