The pair of veil-draped and lamp-bearing Roman vestal statues, japanned in trompe l'oeil stone, correspond to the pattern of 'Vestal with Lamp' supplied in 1800 by Mount Street 'Petrification Manufacturer' Francis Hardenberg (d.1832) for Burghley House, Lincolnshire and first noted in its 1815 Guidebook (see Country House Lighting: Temple Newsam House Exhibition, 1992, no.118). The companion pair of statues, personifying the festive Spring deity Flora and derived from the celebrated Farnese antiquity, may be the figure intended as a lamp-bearer for lighting the plate display in an 1804 'Sideboard-table and Pedestals' pattern in Thomas Sheraton's, Cabinet Encyclopaedia, 1808 (pl. 33). A set of four comparable painted-plaster classical figures made by Humphrey Hopper (b. 1767) for Hackwood Park, Hampshire, sold Christie's, London, 20-22 April, 1998, lot 159 (£45,500).
The Vestal Virgins were the servants of the cult of Vesta who tended the 'eternal flame' at the Temple of Vesta in ancient Rome.