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HISTORY. Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1580 established at Florence a manufacture of soft paste porcelain. The factory was in the Boboli Gardens. Bernardo Buontalenti played an active part in this undertaking, and it is said that soon after its inception porcelain vases and other articles, of the finest quality, were produced and decorated in blue. This was the first European porcelain of which we have any certain knowledge and of which undoubtedly authentic examples exist.

Fewer than fifty authentic pieces are now known to be in existence. These comprise vases, dishes, bowls, (Plate 30), plates, cruets, bottles, flasks, basons and ewers. They are all in museums or else in well-known private collections.

The mark, painted in blue, consists of the dome of the Cathedral in Florence, above a capital F, occasionally with slight additions or variations.

The manufacture was discontinued in the early years of the seventeenth century.

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