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Medici porcelain

In Florence, Grand Duke Francesco de'Medici (died 1587) was recorded in 1575 as having found the secret of making porcelain after years of trials and experiments. The porcelain produced in the Medici workshop is generally considered the first European porcelain, although the body and glaze are in fact based on Near Eastern and maiolica techniques. The paste formula and the high temperatures required in the firing kilns were difficult to achieve, and the project proved extremely costly so after Francesco's death, production dwindled. There are only about six known pieces of Medici porcelain recorded and all but two are decorated in blue and white. The forms and decoration are very varied and show the influence of Chinese and Middle Eastern wares. Most pieces betray their experimental origin with some imperfections. No further significant attempts to make true porcelain took place in Europe for a hundred years.

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