These impressive vases, with lion's mask handles joined by drapery swags on a base cast with Roman acanthus, are based on the celebrated model developed by the marchand Jean Dulac in the 1770's. Usually incorporating the amusing device of pop-up candlearms, the 'vases Dulac' were popular among the sophisticated collectors of the day, with examples acquired by Mme du Barry, Horace Walpole and Prince Baryatinski for Grand Duke Paul's apartments at Pavlovsk.
The stamp 'BY' is almost certainly that of the famous firm of 19th century bronziers, Beurdeley of Paris. Established by Louis-Auguste-Alfred Beurdeley (d. 1882) and continued by his son Alfred-Emmanuel-Louis (d. 1919), the firm of Beurdeley specialized in highly wrought objects in ormolu, mainly in the Louis XVI style. The quality of their work was so good that in 1886 Alfred Champeaux remarked that some of their pieces 'ont été vendu comme des pièces anciennes' (see P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorées du XVIIIième Siècle, Paris, 1987, pp. 337-9).