Precious ormolu-mounted objects in Egyptian porphyry, such as the present vases, were particularly en vogue in the late 18th Century. A related ormolu-mounted red porphyry urn, attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), was sold by the celebrated marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre to Madame du Barry on 1 May 1792. This was her last purchase and was later confiscated from the oval pavillion of Louveciennes (Madame du Barry, exhibition catalogue, Louveciennes, 1992, p.175, no.23)
Madame du Barry's taste for ormolu-mounted porphyry pieces was shared by a number of great amateurs. The duc d'Aumont's interest for ancient and precious marbles started when he first purchased, from the maréchal de Richelieu, two antique porphyry vases brought back from Italy, and the extent of his collection was certainly admired Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. At the legendary sale of the duc d'Aumont's collection in 1782, the King and Queen acquired no less than 56 lots of ormolu-mounted marble pieces, most of which had been executed between 1770 and 1782 in the workshop he had set up at the hôtel des menus plaisirs.