Conceived as an 'antique' tripod and embellished with finely-chased mounts in the form of eagle heads, foliate clasps and claw feet, this superb gueridon is very closely related to various atheniennes in ormolu and coloured glass in the Cabinet of Pilasters and the Hall of Peace at Pavlovsk, and the present example may have originally been part of the palace's furnishings. These tripods were almost certainly designed by the architect Andrei Voronikhin (1759-1814), who in 1803-1804 recreated the interiors of the palace which had been damaged by fire in January of that year (A. Kouchoumov, Pavlovsk, Leningrad, 1976, no. 54). Interestingly, a gueridon with a blue-glass top and closely related eagle terminals, executed circa 1805-'07 is also at Pavlovsk, which strengthens the possibility of an Imperial provenance for this example (A. Cheneviere, Russian Furniture, London, 1988, p. 164).
At Pavlovsk, Voronikhin reinstated the interiors as they had looked before the fire but at the same time introduced some changes, often working with the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna herself. Besides his projects for interiors, he also executed designs for furniture and ornamental vases, and worked closely with artists and craftmen, such as the bronziers Pierre Agis (1752-1828) but particularly Friedrich Bergenfeldt (1768-1822), who was a favourite of Maria Feodorovna (I. Sychev, Russian Bronze, Moscow, 2001, p. 75). The present gueridon has identical scalloped foliate clasps as the glass and ormolu atheniennes at Pavlovsk, almost certainly all provided by the same bronzier, probably Bergenfeldt. The largest of these was given to Emperor Alexander I in 1808, and it is probable that the present example was also executed around that date.