A short ladder surmounted by a cross was the emblem of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, where it stood in front of the steps (scala) of the city's cathedral. The hospital also had a branch in Florence, and this work could have served as a drug container in the pharmacy of either location.
From Santa Maria della Scala, Florence; Elia Volpi, Davanzati Palace, Florence (sold 1916); [his sale, American Art Association(November 21-28, 1916, lot 666)]
Art treasures and antiquities formerly contained in the famous Davanzati Palace, Florence, Italy, which together with the contents of his Villa Pía were brought to America by their owner Professor Commendatore Elia Volpi. New York: American Art Association, November 21–28, 1916. no. 666, ill.
Riccetti, Lucio, ed. 1909 tra collezionismo e tutela: Connoisseur, antiquari e la ceramica medievale orvietana. Perugia and Orvieto: Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, 2010. no. 8.1.15, p. 467.