This vase of unusually large size is of a pink Swedish granite often known under the generic title of porphyre de Suède. Its size would indicate a highly unusual commission and was in all probability a gift by the King of Sweden, Maréchal Bernadotte, who reigned as King Karl XIV Johan of Sweden from 1818 to 1844, and whose family owned the porphyry mines. The King is known to have presented similar pieces to other of Napoleon's maréchaux. This includes a vase given to Maréchal Gérard offered by Christie's Monaco, 2 July 1993, lot 235. Princesse Cécile Murat's ties to both the Murat and Ney families, both of whom had originally been among Napoléon's foremost maréchaux, raise the possibility that this vase was originally presented to an ancestor be Bernadotte.
Porphyry was first discovered in Sweden at Alvadalen in 1731 but was not commercially exploited until after 1788 by Eric Hagström under the direction of Nile Adam Bielke. The works were purchased by Bernadotte in 1818 and stayed in the Royal ownership until 1856. Bernadotte used the production of primarily Empire objects in porphyry and related granite to disseminate the Empire style that he had brought from France. Production largely ceased following a disastrous fire in 1867. A monumental urn, also made of a very similar pale red 'granitell' which is related to porphyry, stands outside the pavillion at Rosendal in Djurgärden, Stockholm. Weighing 9.5 tons and measuring 3.5 meters diameter, it's shape derives from antique prototypes excavated at Pompeii and Herculaneum. It is illustrated on the back cover of "Porfyr"; Exhibition Catalogue, Bukowski's, Stockholm, 15 December 1985 - 2 February 1986.