The almost silversmith-like workmanship apparent particularly in the jewel-like details of the fruiting vine garlands and the gadrooned base meticulously worked in repoussé and highlighted in gold against the patinated bronze bodies of the lamps clearly identifies this mantelpiece garniture as Russian. Designed in the goût Etrusque fashionable in the 1780s it features a lightly clad youth and his companion studying by the light of Roman lamps, representative of La philosophie and L'étude, 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 (see E. Bourgeois, Le Biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, vol. II, p. 22). A design for such an oil lamp with the figure of L'Etude features in a design of circa 1785 and attributed to Thomire (now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris).
The Russian link is further 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 right 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 (see E. Ducamp, ed., Pavlovsk: The Collections, Paris, 1993, p. 192, cat. 42).