These were purchased in Rome in 1775 for Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793), by the antiquarian Thomas Jenkins.
The gilt frames are signed ‘Cesare Aguatti Romano, 1774.’
Such miniature mosaics were a favourite Grand Tour purchase and Aguatti was especially celebrated for this technique.
A letter to the earl from Rome, dated March 11th 1775, from Thomas Jenkins, who acted as an agent for several Grand Tourists, comments that Aguatti was certainly the best workman that ever was in Mosaick.’
The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The West or Green Dressing Room….A pair of inlaid Florentine marble mosaic pictures in gilt frames.’