The George III fashion promoted by the court architect Robert Adam (d.1792) for Roman decoration in the columbarium or vase-chamber fashion, encouraged the fashion for such Cantonese mantelpiece vase-garnitures, whose trompe l'oeil coloured marbles imitate Wedgwood wares. They display laurelled Chinese landscape vignettes on plinth-supported krater vases, whose scrolled handles derive from an antique pattern illustrated in Stefano della Bellas, accolta di vasi diversi, 1646.
These are perhaps inspired by a Marieberg version after a Swedish silver original, see Michael Beurdeley, Chinese Trade Porcelain (Fribourg, 1962), p. 198, cat. no. 206.
Compare the almost identical urn and cover from the Mottahedeh Collection illustrated by D.S. Howard and J. Ayers, China for the West, London and New York, 1978, vol. II, p. 557, no. 575, where the authors state that this shape can be traced back to Stefano della Bella of the late 16th/early 17th century when he was working for Ferdinand de Medici. However it was a Wedgwood model that the Chinese first copied in about 1790. The pistol handles, moulded relief work and marbled base are common to most Chinese versions, which were produced for every country then engaged in trade with China. The scene depicted in the oval panel on the Mottahedeh example, which is identical to the that on the present example, is one of twelve.