The first identifiable porcelain produced in Europe was made in the Medici court workshops in Florence in the late sixteenth century. Under the patronage of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, experiments began around 1574 to make porcelain in imitation of Chinese blue and white wares, which were highly prized in Europe. While Chinese and Ottoman ceramics influenced the decoration of Medici porcelain, many of the forms produced in the ducal workshop were indebted to contemporary hard-stone vessels or goldsmith's work, as in the case of this ewer. Approximately sixty of pieces of Medici porcelain are known to have survived.
Marking: In underglaze blue enamel, on underside within foot ring: [dome of Florence Cathedral] / •F•
Sir William Richard Drake , London and Oatlands Lodge, Weybridge, Surrey (by 1873–d. 1890) ; heirs of Sir William Richard Drake (1890–96; sale, Christie's, London, July 17, 1896, no. 43; sold as "property of a lady" for £304 10s. to Durlacher Brothers, London); [ Durlacher Brothers , London ] ; John Edward Taylor , London (until d. 1905; to his widow, Martha) ; Martha Taylor (1905–d. 1912; sale, Christie's, London, July 1–4, 9–10, 1912, no. 136; sold for £1,312 10s. to Durlacher Brothers); [ Durlacher Brothers , London, 1912, perhaps on commission from Morgan ] ; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (1912–d. 1913; to his son, J. P. Morgan) ; J. P. Morgan Jr. , New York (1913–17; on loan to MMA 1913–16; given in his father's name to MMA)