These lions are carved after original antique examples in basalt which are at the base of the stairs leading up to the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. The model was popular in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as attested to by gilt-bronze examples produced by Giuseppe Boschi and available in England before 1795 (Thomas Hope, op. cit., p. 392). Thomas Hope, whose town house on Duchess Street in London was so influential for design in this country, incorporated bronze examples into the design of two settees of Egyptian influence at Duchess Street, and he acquired a closely similar basalt lion via Christie's from the collection of Sir William Hamilton in 1801 which was also kept at his London home (ibid, nos. 49 and 76). The author of the present pair of lions was undoubtedly attempting to emulate one of the foremost taste-makers of the day.