This ewer is directly inspired by the silver-gilt ewer by Nicolas Delaunay, Paris, 1696-7 made for the private altar service of Cardinal Louis-Joseph de Montmorency-Laval and now at Poitiers Cathedral (M. Bimbenet-Privat, Les Orfèvres et L'Orfèvrerie de Paris au XVIIe Siècle, Paris, 2002, p. 244-247).
Delaunay had been influenced by the Renaissance studies of antique vases published in Italy in the 1530s. The unusual form of the handle, modelled as a standing panther, first appears in the works of Enea Vico, published in 1533, after the Roman engravers Agostino Veneziano and Marcantonio. The panther handle was later adapted by C. C. Cimmert in an engraving of 1679, published in Joachim von Sandart's Der Tentschen Academie, which depicts antique vases in an arcadian landscape. It is to this engraving that the handle is most closely related.
Delaunay's ewer was greatly admired by subsequent bronziers with many copies and interpretations in ormolu appearing throughout the 18th and 19th centuries (Christie's New York, 10 October 2001, lot 224).
Drawing of a Ewer by Enea Vico, 1533