Similarly to lot 82, this pair of vases are decorated with ram’s masks; a popular design element in the second half of the eighteenth century. As explained in the note to lot 82, ram’s masks had a distinct transformation between the early 1760s and the end of the century. In this lot, they are realistically carved and are tightly integrated into the vases’ overall form. Executing them in porphyry instead of ormolu might seem less lavish at first, but considering how precious this material was and how hard it was to carve it makes these vases evem rarer and luxurious. The Wallace collection holds two comparable lidded vases with spiral fluting to their bodies, one of which is carved with transverse gadrooning handles while the other with snakes, see P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection, vol. III, London, 1996, pp. 1383 and 1385, respectively. For a single vase carved with comparable ram’s heads and an related design, see P. Malgouyres, Porphyre, Paris, 2003, p. 146; for a large porphyry vase with carved ram's masks commissioned by the Duc de Richelieu from Charles Guillemain in 1762, see ibid., p. 173.