These impressive torcheres are conceived in the Roman manner as vase-centred 'altar' tripods, with lamp-bearing vestal virgin caryatids, the central vases surmounted by Jupiter's eagles, their pedestals enriched with sunflowers guarded by griffin, sacred to the sun deity Apollo. Their 'altar' plinths are embellished with bacchic putti celebrating with grape and Pan pipes.
Their Roman inspiration obviously owes a debt to the work of Robert Adam, who featured similar torcheres in The Works of Robert Adam, 1773, vol. I, no. I, fig. VIII. However certain features of the construction, particularly the use of gilt-lead ornament, point to a German or Austrian origin. Their restrained neoclassical form relates particularly to the work of the celebrated Berlin architect and designer Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841). A pair of centre tables attributed to Schinkel, possibly supplied to the Knigliche Schloss, Berlin, and later in the Kaiser Friedrich Palais, Berlin, featuring female monopodia with similar head-dresses, was sold Christie's New York, 1 November 1990, lot 143. Similar female caryatids appear in Schinkel's oeuvre as the uprights to doors in the State Room designed by Schinkel in 1816 for the Palais of Prince August, Frederick the Great's nephew (illustrated in M. Snodin ed., Karl Friedrich Schinkel : A Universal Man, London, 1991, p. 116, cat. 38), and as the supports for candelabra in the Palais of Prince Albrecht (illustrated in W. Baer et al., Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Berlin, 1981, p. 315, cat. 275).