Across Europe in the late 17th and 18th Centuries, there was a widespread demand for items associated with China. The result was an influx into England of all such related goods, in particular furniture and ceramics. Organisations such as the East India Company commissioned Chinese labourers to produce Chinese objects, but in the style of the West. The result was items being produced with Chinese materials and characteristics, but being modified to cater for Western tastes.
A very similar pair of figures was sold anonymously, in these Rooms, 25 May 1964, lot 154, and another related pair of figures was sold by Baroness Van Zuyles Van Nyevelt, in these Rooms, 6 June 1956, lot 66. The figures in each are almost identical with only the pattern of the robes and position of the hands differing.