James Cockaine (c.1768-1823) of Tottenham Court Road was recorded as a plaster manufacturer in 1802, and subsequently as a bronze figure manufacturer in 1811. In both 1817 and 1818 he exhibited busts at the Royal Academy. Following his death at the age of 55, the auction of his stock in January 1824 included models and casts by contemporary artists such as Flaxman and Chenu. Also included in the sale were moulds of classical subjects from mythology, and busts of celebrated historical figures such as Nelson, Joshua Reynolds and Mrs Siddons, as well as a ‘very fine leaden Statue of Neptune’ (The Times 15 January 1824). Cockaine was the one of the principal suppliers of plaster to the sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey, and a plaster figure inscribed ‘J. Cockaine/ New Road, Tottenham Court’ now in the Ashmolean Museum was formerly in the collection of Chantrey.
The roundels are inscribed to the reverse 'Wanstead' suggesting they were originally part of the collection of Wanstead Park, Essex. In 1714 Sir Richard Child, 3rd Baronet, later Viscount Castlemaine and Earl Tylney of Castlemaine (d. 1750), commissioned the Scottish architect, Colen Campbell (d. 1729) to design a magnificent Palladian mansion, ‘the noblest Palladian House in England’ to replace an earlier house at Wanstead Park, Essex (T. Couzens, Hand of Fate: The History of the Longs, Wellesleys and the Draycot Estate in Wiltshire, Bradford on Avon, 2001, p. 61). The mansion, rendered with white Portland stone with a central section in the style of a Roman temple, a portico of six Corinthian columns (an innovation for this period), and a vast square footage (260 feet by 70 feet) comprising 58 bedrooms and nearly 50 other rooms was illustrated in the first edition of Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus (1715); it was intended to rival Blenheim Palace, the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough. William Kent (d. 1748), the foremost classical architect and furniture designer of the day, protégé of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (d. 1753), was responsible for the interiors and for some of the furniture. The house was completed by 1720 at a reported cost ranging from £200,000 to £360,000. In 1787, the interiors were described thus, 'Two suites of grand apartments, equally elegant and convenient, occupy the whole length of the front; one on the right, the other on the left of the Saloon: these are all well furnished, and finished in high taste; and contain some paintings by the best masters, and some portraits and other family pictures; among which is a small picture, containing portraits at length of the late Earl and his whole family, by the celebrated Hogarth’ (Picturesque Views of the Principal Seats of the Nobility and Gentry in England and Wales, 1787).