This type of earthenware has a tin-glazed, opaque white surface that provides an excellent ground for pictorial decoration. Although this ceramic type came to Sicily directly from the Middle East, fine Spanish examples reached Italy by way of Majorca, the island that gave the earthenware its name, majolica. By the mid-fifteenth century, Florence was producing its own distinctive majolica, painted in a thickly applied cobalt pigment.
This early blue-and-white apothecary jar, with its bold banding of encircled oak leaf motifs, is a superb example of early Florentine Severe-style majolica.
Unknown Private Collection, Florence;
(Luigi Grassi, London);
purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth,1979.