These smoking cassolettes with Egyptian winged masks have bacchic lion-footed 'altar' pedestals, whose theatrical masks relate to those illustrated in Thomas Hope's Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807 (pl. 37). The Liverpool sculptor William Bullock (d. 1836) took out a patent for this cassolette pattern in 1805 and basalt versions were executed at the Liverpool 'Herculaneum' pottery. Bullock, trading as 'Jeweller, Silversmith and China man', at the 'Museum and Bronze figure Manufactory', Church Street, also advertised the opening of his 'Egyptian Hall' in 1805, and his 'New assortment of every article in the Bronze and Ornamental Business' (Gore's 'General Advertiser'). His bronze and basalt vases were later sold at his 'Liverpool Museum' opened in Piccadilly, London in 1809 and advertised the following year in R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts. In 1812 he moved to new premises named 'The London Museum' but more generally known as the 'Egyptian Hall' (T. Clifford, 'William Bullock - a fine fellow', Christie's International Magazine, July 1991, pp. 14-15).
A single, black basalt urn of this design, signed by William Bullock was sold anonymously, in these Rooms, 4 July 1991, lot 3 and is now in The British Museum. A Regency clock, formerly in the collection of Lord Kinnaird, Rossie Priory, Perthshire, with identical base to the present example, was sold in these Rooms, 6 July 1989, lot 118, and a pair of candelabra also with identical bases, was sold in these Rooms, 16 November 1989, lot 9. A related pair was sold anonymously, Phillips, London, 9 February 1993 lot 132.