This 'sarcophagus' bath of rosso antico reflects the taste for miniatures of marble antiquities in the Vatican and other Roman museums encouraged in the later 18th Century by the publications of the architect and antiquarian G.B. Piranesi (d. 1778). In the mid-1790s a collection of small sarcophagi or baths was assembled during his studies in Rome by Charles Heathcote Tatham, architect and author of books on ornamental architecture. The collection, which provided decorative garnitures for chimneypieces etc., was formed on behalf of the court architect Henry Holland (d. 1806), to assist with his work at Carlton House, London, for George, Prince of Wales, later George IV. It features in a sheet of drawings that Tatham no doubt prepared for publication, and inscribed 'Various modern Ornaments for Chimney Pieces etc., (chiefly worked in antique marbles of the rarest kind)' (sold anonymously at Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 1 June 2000, lot 90). The fashion for such decorative objets d'art was also promoted by the connoisseur Thomas Hope's Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, which also provided patterns for related 'claw' supports.