The Louis XIV gaines or pedestals for vase or statue, with sunflowered capitals and plinth-supported and volute-trussed herms wrapped by blue lambrequins, correspond to a pattern invented around 1700 by Andr-Charles Boulle (d. 1732) and illustrated in Mariette, Nouveaux Dessins de Meubles et Ouvrages de Bronzes et Marqueterie inventes et gravs par Andr-Charles Boulle, c. 1710. They correspond to a pair from the Htel de Noailles that were introduced to the Palais-Royal in the 19th century and are now in the Louvre (D. Alcouffe, Furniture Collection in the Louvre, vol. I, Dijon, 1993, pp. 88-89).
Mathieu Befort 'Jeune' was the son of Jean-Baptiste Befort (d. 1840), who established his Paris workshops in 1817 in the faubourg Saint-Honor. He was a brother of Jean-Baptiste Befort, bniste-marqueteur and 'antiquaire' and like him specialised in 'meubles de Boulle'. The firm received a medal at the 1844 Paris exhibition. Befort Jeune was recorded at Neuves-Saint-Gilles from 1844 until 1880.
The pattern has always retained popularity. Four such pedestals, manufactured in the 1770s by Etienne Levasseur (d. 1798), who served his apprenticeship with Charles-Joseph Boulle (d. 1754) were acquired in 1818 by the dealer Chevalier Fereol Bonnemaison for the Duke of Wellington (M. Aldrich 'The Duke of Wellington's Gallery at Stratfield Saye' Apollo, June 1998, p. 26, fig. 11).
It is likely that these pedestals formed part of the magnificent collection of French furniture and works of art introduced to the British Embassy in Vienna in 1908 during the ambassadorship of the diplomat Sir Fairfax Leighton Cartwright (d. 1928). Its furnishings, including items inherited by his wife Donna Maria, daughter of the Marchese Chigi-Zonadari from her family palace in Siena, were brought to Aynhoe Park, Oxfordshire in 1913. These pedestals were then illustrated in the Orangery in Gordon Nares's articles on Aynhoe published in Country Life, CXIV, July 1953, pps. 42, 122, 202.