The pair of candlesticks are designed in the late 18th Century Grecian manner with ormolu cushion-supported 'urn' nozzles borne by bronze caryatic priestesses, who also carry ormolu ewers and stand on white marble plinths. Such candlesticks were imported by London-based marchands-merciers or dealers in objet's d'art, and they provided appropriate 'antique' garnitures for marble chimneypieces, such as those designed by architects such as Henry Holland (d. 1806). Candlesticks of this pattern were acquired by Samuel Whitbread II (d. 1815) for Southill, Bedfordshire, and would have featured amongst the considerable expenditure on furniture and furnishings that he laid out around 1800. The refined French decorations of Mrs. Whitbread's apartments had been completed by 1800 with paintings by Louis André Delabrière, and were described by the Reverend Samuel Johnes, Rector of Welwyn, in a letter that he wrote that year to his sister. In particular he noted that Mrs. Whitbread's 'Boudoir' looked like 'a small Temple where has been deposited all the rich offerings of every country' (F. J. B. Watson, 'The Furniture and Decoration', Southill. A Regency House, London, 1951, pp. 23-24 and G. Jackson-Stops, 'Southill Park, Bedfordshire', Country Life, 28 April 1994, p. 63, fig. 3).
The present pair of candlesticks are likely to have been amongst the two pairs of this pattern, exhibited in 1951 in the display entitled 'Mrs. Whitbread's Room at Southill', which formed part of the Regency Exhibition held at the Brighton Pavilion (C. Musgrave, Regency Furniture, London, 1961, fig. 6).
Another pair of this pattern, but with two candlebranches issuing from their urns, was sold from Blackwell Collections, in these Rooms, 14 December 2000, lot 105.