This impressive pair of ormolu-mounted urns with their naturalistically cast arched panther handles are inspired by Italian Renaissance studies of antique vases published in the 1530s. This unusual form of the standing panther first appears in the works of Eneo Vico, published in 1533, after the Roman engravers Agostino Veneziano and Marcantonio. The panther handle was then later adapted by C. C. Cimmert in an engraving of 1679, published in Joachim von Sandart's Der Tentschen Academie, which depicts antique vases in an arcadian landscape. It is to this engraving that the handles are most closely related. The form was much admired by both silversmiths and bronziers alike and deployed on a number of vessels throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. An important French silver-gilt ewer and basin with the mark of Abel-Etienne Giroux (1798-1809) and inspired by the work of Nicolas Delaunay (1696-7) with an identical panther handle sold Christie's London, 10 June 2008, lot 135 (£37,250).