The 'sarcophagus' bath of gold-veined Portor marble is ormolu-enriched with 'Egyptian' style lion-heads and palm-wrapped monopodia. The taste for miniatures of marble antiquities in the Vatican and other Roman museums was encouraged in the later 18th Century by the publications of the architect and antiquarian G. B. Piranesi (d. 1778). In the mid-1790s a collection of small sarcophagi or baths was assembled during his studies in Rome by Charles Heathcote Tatham, architect and author of books on ornamental architecture. The collection, which provided decorative garnitures for chimneypieces etc., was formed on behalf of the court architect Henry Holland (d. 1806), to assist with his work at Carlton House, London, for George, Prince of Wales, later George IV. It features in a sheet of drawings that Tatham no doubt prepared for publication, and inscribed 'Various modern Ornaments for Chimney Pieces etc., (chiefly worked in antique marbles of the rarest kind)' (see Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 1 June 2000, lot 90). The fashion for such decorative objets d'art was also promoted by the connoisseur Thomas Hope's Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, which also provided patterns for related palm-wrapped 'claw' supports.
Edward Knoblock was one of the earliest and most influential collectors of Regency furniture in England. Born in New York in 1874, he arrived in England in 1897 and worked as a playwright. His greatest moment as a collector came with the sale at Christie's of Thomas Hope's collection from The Deepdene, Surrey in July 1917, when he purchased many pieces that were later to be housed at the Beach House, Worthing, Sussex. A pair of chairs from Knoblock's collection was sold from the collection of the late Ian Phillips, Esq. (+), Charlton Mackrell Court, Somerset, in these Rooms, 16 November 1995, lot 344.