These ‘antique’ candle-vases, or cassolettes, come from the earliest of Matthew Boulton’s forays into the world of the bronzier. Boulton is justly regarded as the greatest producer of ormolu in the history of British decorative arts; at his famed Soho manufactory he devised a multitude of sumptuous ormolu objects, the like of which had not been known before or since. The ormolu he produced, often of vase-form - capitalising on the ‘vasemania’ of the 1770s - found their way into royal and aristocratic collections from London to St. Petersburg. On receipt for a pair of Boulton perfume burners in 1771, Catherine the Great is said to have proclaimed them to be ‘superior to those of the French in all respects'. Sir Nicholas Goodison records that this model of candle-vase was also produced with marble, blue john and enamelled copper bodies and illustrates two versions of this form as well as a closely related design (op. cit. p. 291, pls. 258-250).