Following very much in the vanguard of George, Prince of Wales and his circle, the Westminsters were avaricious connoisseurs with Francophile leanings. Echoing Beckford, the Duke of Hamilton, Edmund Fairfax-Lucy and George Watson Taylor, their collection reveals a particular taste for pietra dura, including the clock-cabinet by Robert Home in the Gilbert Collection (Anna Maria Massinelli, The Gilbert Collection: Hardstones, London, 2000, pp. 49-50).
This casket is inspired by the output of the Galleria dei Lavori, or Grand Ducal Workshops, in Florence under its director, the scultore Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1725), during the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo III (1670-1723). Related 17th Century caskets, which were often given as diplomatic gifts to foreign dignitaries, are illustrated in A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto: La Toscana e L'Italia Settentrionale, Milan, 1986, vol. II, pp. 60-1, figs. 72-7.