The form of these candelabrum relate to the 'argand' lamp pattern, derived from an ancient Roman marble candelabrum excavated on the site of Hadrian's Villa by Gavin Hamilton in 1769. The lamp was subsequently engraved in Gian-Battista Piranesi's Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi, Tripodi, Lucerne, et Ornamenti Antichi, published in 1778. At the beginning of the 1770s, Matthew Boulton's manufactory was successful enough to employ fashionable designers such as Robert Adam. Adam began working with silver designs for some of his existing clients around 1775. His designs were highly influenced by Pompeiian or Etruscan motifs, such as the lamp form of the present lot.