These golden vase-garniture candlesticks, evoking lyric-poetry, are designed in Matthew Boulton's French antique taste appropriate for the furnishing of ladys' desks or bonheur-du-jours in the fashionable apartments decorated in the Roman Etruscan 'columbarium' fashion promoted from the 1760s by architects such as Robert Adam (d. 1792) and James Wyatt (d. 1813).
The candles' pearl-wreathed 'vase' nozzles are incorporated in the lids of these palm-wrapped and laurel-wreathed 'krater' vases, whose sacred-veil drapery and rose-festooned 'altar' plinths recall ancient festivities and sacrifices at love's altar. This poetic theme inspired related laurel-festooned 'Cleopatra' candle vases, such as those that Messrs Matthew Boulton (d. 1809) and John Fothergill of Soho, Birmingham hoped to sell in 1770 to Augusta, Dowager Prince SS of Wales (N. Goodison, Matthew Boulton: Ormolu, London, 2003, p. 328). The firm's pattern for marble vases in the 'antique taste' features in the firm's archives; and a pair of their marble-bodied vases are illustrated ibid., p. 292, fig. 249). Another pair of ormolu-bodied vases was sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 6 July 1995, lot 5 (ibid., pls. 250 and 248).