The original models for these bronze figures have been attributed to Claude Michel Clodion (d. 1814) and date from circa 1785. Modelling predominantly in terracotta, Clodion's oeuvre consists for the most part of the bacchanalian subjects, centaurs and nymphs which characterised classical sculpture in pre-Revolution France.
A similar pair of figures, with candle-branches, are now in the Louvre (illustrated H. Ottomeyer P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, p. 283, cat. 4.14.5); while another two pairs, both dating from the late 18th century, were purchased by George IV and are now at Buckingham Palace (see J. Harris, G de Bellaigue, O. Millar, Buckingham Palace, London 1968, pp. 154 and 194). Two pairs dating, like the ones offered here, from the 19th century are now at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire (see Sir A. Blunt, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, London, 1974, pp. 688-9).