Reflecting the late 18th Century's obsession with hardstones - a taste expounded above all by the duc d'Aumont and, subsequently Marie-Antoinette - this vine-wrapped agate 'tazza' shares much with the oeuvre of Jean-Demosthene Dugourc (1749-1825). Appointed dessinateur du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Dugourc signed the related design for an ormolu-mounted hardstone bowl with octagonal base and foliate scroll feet, which is now in the Royal Ontario Museum (H. Creel Collinson, Documenting Design, Toronto, 1993, p. 94, no. 44). Dated 1784, as an inscription on the latter reveals the drawing was suppplied to the goldsmith and jouallier du Roi Ange-Joseph Aubert (1736-1785).
Such hardstone-mounted pieces, reminiscent of Renaissance schatzkammer objects, enjoyed a revived popularity at the end of the 18th Century through the impetus of both the marchands-mercier and, more importantly, the hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs, where the duc d'Aumont himself established a workshop in 1770 specialising in the cutting and polishing of precious hardstones. This celebrated atelier employed none other than François-Joseph Belanger (1744-1818) as designer, Pierre Gouthiére (1732-1813) as ciseleur-doreur, Augustin Bocciardi (active 1760-90) as sculpteur and Guillemain for giving the hardstones a 'polis ferme et brilliant'. At the very end of the 18th Century, the duc d'Aumont's legacy was in turn taken up by designers such as Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810), who supplied objects of this nature to William Beckford at Fonthill.