Perfume burners of varying types were used in most households to scent a room by burning aromatic oils or by placing dried herbs on hot coals. This example is a unique survival of the type.
Typically made from copper, brass or pewter, very few of these objects have survived. As a precious metal, silver perfume burners would only be found in houses of the nobility and at the Royal Court. How and when the perfume burner entered the collection is unclear, although it could have been part of a group of large silver pieces bought by the 1st Duke of Devonshire, possibly from William III.
The maker's mark is possibly that of Philip Rollos who was a talented French Huguenot refugee. Rollos was known to have been in England in 1691, but did not become a Freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company until 1697.