Inspired by late 17th century Daniel Marot prototypes for stands to support Chinese porcelain soldier vases, these monumental 'Baroque' stands, with their oyster, cockle and cowrie shells, celebrate the Fruits of the Sea. They are first recorded on the Grand Staircase at Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire in 1884. Unusually executed in bronze as opposed to wood, and thus providing considerable strength, they were no doubt commissioned to support the Roman full-length figural marble groups with which they are described in the 1884 Privately Printed Catalogue of Mentmore. These two marble groups were subsequently also included in the 1977 sale as lots lots 203 and 204.
The art collections at Mentmore were among the most outstanding of their kind anywhere in the world, prompting Lady Eastlake to comment: "I do not believe that the Medici were ever so lodged at the height of their glory". Mentmore was built between 1852 and 1854 by Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild, who needed a house near to London and in close proximity to other Rothschild homes at Tring, Ascot, Aston Clinton and later Waddesdon and Halton House. The plans for the mansion imitated Wollaton Hall in Nottingham and were drawn up by the gardener turned architect Joseph Paxton, celebrated for his Crystal Palace, completed the year earlier. Sumptuously furnished with extraordinary works of art in every field, on his death in 1874, Baron Mayer left Mentmore and a fortune of some £2,000,000 to his daughter, Hannah de Rothschild. Four years later Hannah married Archibald Philip, 5th Earl of Rosebery, who added considerably to the collections assembled by his father-in-law and it remained intact until the tragic dispersal of the contents in 1977.