These German candlesticks in the Louis XVI style are strikingly similar to the various sets supplied by Augsburg makers for the gubernatorial services ordered by Catherine The Great. Candlesticks by Johann Philipp Heckenauer are found in the Perm and Kharkov services amongst others. Examples of the latter, also made in 1781-3, which are closer to the present model, are found in the collection of the Städlische Kunstsammlungen, Augsburg (B. Kommer, Zirbelnuss und Zarenadler. Augsburger Silber für Katharina II von Rusland, Augsburg, 1997, p. 73, fig. 24).
The Princes Sheremet'ev were among the richest families in Russia, and the largest owners of serfs in the late 18th century. They also owned vast tracts of land, including the site of the present Sheremet'evo airport at Moscow. Among their houses was Ostankino, famous for its serf theatre as well as other artistic expressions, and the Fountain House in Petersburg, where, later, Anna Akhmatova lived most of her life.
(We are grateful to Dr Kommer for suggesting that these candlesticks probably formed part of the Sheremet'ev service.)