The ormolu palm-wrapped and acanthus-wreathed bowl is supported on a garlanded and strigil-fluted stem of krater-vase form and is thought to be derived from a pattern invented in the mid-1750s by the architect James 'Athenian' Stuart (d.1788), a pair of related ormolu candelabra almost certainly designed by Stuart formed part of the furnishings of his celebrated interior at Spencer House, London and was sold The Spencer House Sale, Christie's London, 8 July 2010, lot 1003. The Spencer House candelabra have many similarities to the present pair, including the design of the branches and the employment of a Vitruvian-scroll border to the neck, however the most significant parallel is the apparently identical design of the strigil-fluted, garland wrapped socle.
In April 1771 Christie's held Messrs Boulton and Fothergill's first speculative sale: 'A Catalogue of the Superb and elegant produce Of Messrs Boulton and Fothergill's Ormoulu Manufactory, At Soho, in Staffordshire; Consisting of A variety of the most beautiful and rich articles, comprehending vases of exquisite shapes, clock-cases, candle-branches, essence pots and many other items, Which will be sold by auction, By Mr. Christie...'. The third day of the sale included a candle-vase of near identical design, (13 April 1771, lot 60) which was bought by Edwin Lascelles' neighbour, William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 4th Earl Fitzwilliam, as well as five further lots similarly described (and almost certainly of the same pattern). The Fitzwilliam candle-vase was later sold in The Wentworth Sale, Christie's London, 8 July 1998, lot 61.
In his book Sir Nicholas Goodison records that he knows of nine examples of the present model with bluejohn bodies and two with white marble bodies (N. Goodison, Matthew Boulton: Ormolu, London, 2002, p. 287). Recorded examples include: a pair of candle-vases in the collection of the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace; a pair in the Royal Collection at Frogmore House; a pair formerly in the Mulliner Collection (H.H. Mulliner, The Decorative Arts in England, London, n.d. (c.1924), fig. 164. and sold Christie's London, 10 July 1924, lot 37 and a pair was sold from the collection of the late 1st Viscount Leverhulme, Anderson Galleries, New York, 10 February 1926, lot 165. The latter pair had previously been at Bothwell Castle, Scotland sold Christie's London, June 1919, in the Leverhulme sale the pair was linked with a single candelabrum of a related pattern which was subsequently in the Gerstenfeld Collection (illustrated as a garniture in, E. Lennox-Boyd Ed., Masterpieces of English Furninture - The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, p. 179) however the single example did not come from Bothwell Castle. Nicholas Goodison illustrates and discusses this model of 'antique' candelabra in his book, Op. cit., pp 76, 285-287 & 461.