These beautifully crafted sphinxes were melted on the model created by the "ornemaniste" (decorator) and cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle for a clock now conserved in Germany, crafted between 1711 and 1716. This is the time of decoration works on the castle of Marly and especially the creation of the lead sphinxes on the terrace, which may be at their origin.
The popularity of this motive treated in the manner of late Louis XIV style (or Regency) spread throughout Europe. It is found for example in Nevers faience (Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris).
Our pair of bronze figures was probably mounted as andirons, like a similar pair in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, produced in the Regency era. Mounted on later bases, their patina has been modified as it is commonly practiced with andirons.
Similar sphinxes are documented as andirons or throughout the eighteenth century, for instance as andirons in the famous portrait of the Baron of Bezenval by Danloux in the National Gallery in London, or as paperweights on the portrait by Valade of the Marquis and Marchioness of Fontenilles playing music.