This model is inspired by the 'elegant tripod or Pedestal for three lights' designed by James Wyatt for the Queen's Lodge at Frogmore, Windsor. Exhibited at Mrs. Coade's Gallery, the design featured in her Etchings issued 1777-78, and she subsequently supplied this model for the Dashwood's staircase at West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire.
Felix Austin entered into business making artificial stone in 1828, having purchased moulds from a firm that had gone out of business. He established his works in New Road, London, describing himself variously as an architect, statuary mason and sculptor as well as artificial stone maker. His material was not the same as the ceramic body used by Mrs. Coade, but made from Portland cement, broken stone, pounded marble and course sand (The Builder, 1868). However, like Mrs. Coade, he encouraged leading architects and designers to work for him. Around 1840 he entered into partnership with John Seeley; Seeley had trained at the Royal Academy Schools and also made an artificial stone, which he called 'artificial limestone'. In 1841 they published their first catalogue Collection of Ornaments at Austin & Seeley's Artificial Stone Works for Gardens, Parks and Pleasure Grounds, etc., from their address in New Road. The preface to this catalogue begins 'Austin's Artificial Stone is of a light tone, requires no painting or colouring, will not sustain injury from the severest winter, and, being impervious to wet, is particularly applicable to all kinds of water-works. Its superiority is now so thoroughly established, that the most eminent Architects and scientific Gentlemen have expressed, in the highest terms, their approbation of its durability, and close resemblance to real stone.'