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.
probably Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, Siena; 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.
Cox, Warren E. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain. Vol. 1. New York: Crown Publishers, 1944. p. 352, fig. 533.
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.
Syson, Luke. "Italian Maiolica Painting: Composing for Context." In Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Timothy Wilson. Highlights of the Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. p. 19.
Wilson, Timothy. Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Highlights of the Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 7, pp. 62–63.