Hardstone vases mounted with gilt bronze were extremely popular during the later decades of the 1700s in France. One aristocrat, the duc d'Aumont, was a major collector of this type of object. He supervised a workshop, directed by the architect François-Joseph Bélanger, that produced hardstone vases, pedestals, and tabletops, which were then often mounted with gilt bronze ornaments.
When the duke's collection was auctioned after his death in 1782, competition for his objects was fierce. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette acquired many of the pieces for large sums of money. At the sale, the king purchased a pair of urns identical to these porphyry ones; those urns are now in the Musée du Louvre in Paris.