An Ormolu & White Marble Venus Perfume Burner Attributed to Matthew Boulton

Amongst many of Matthew Boulton’s enterprises was the supply of high-quality ornaments to the Royal family and nobility of England. Amongst these ornaments were clocks & Perfume Burners, the designs of which were based on classical motifs.


In this instance, we see Venus Mourning the loss of Adonis whilst leaning against a pedestal on which the ormolu urn is placed.  On the front of the pedestal, a medallion is placed illustrating the death of Adonis whilst hunting a wild boar.  Seated on the stepped marble base is Cupid, wiping tears from his eyes and having laid down his bow on which rests one of Venus’s doves.


This particular work from Boulton can appear either as a perfume burner, (as here) or with the urn housing a clock

Circa: 1780
Origination: N. Goodison, Matthew Boulton: Ormolu, 2002, p. 351, 354/5
Height: 113/4” 30cms
Width: 6.3/4” 17cm
Depth: 6 3/4” 17 cm