Designed in the George III neo-classical style, the vases' ovoid bodies of the Derbyshire blue-john are embellished with ormolu mounts in the French manner. Bacchic ram-masks, tied to the ribbon-guilloche necks, are festooned with loose ribbon-tied laurels and support involuted acanthus-enriched handles, which spring from the foliate bands. Their waisted and laurel-wreathed stems are supported on double-stepped 'krepidoma' plinths. The reversible acanthus-wrapped domed lids, with thyrsus finials, conceal krater-vase candle-nozzles. Manufactured by Messrs Matthew Boulton and John Fothergill of Birmingham, their basic patter features in the firm's sketch books (see: N. Goodison, Ormolu, The Work of Matthew Boulton, London, 1974, pl.163, fig m.). A cassolette vase of related pattern is illustrated by Goodison pl.141.
An almost identical pair of vases was sold anonymously in these Rooms, 19 November 1981, lot 8.