Discovered in the late 16th century, the Borghese vase was in that family's collections by 1645. It was brought from Prince Camillo Borghese in 1807 by his brother-in-law Napoleon Bonaparte and is now in the Louvre. The Medici vase was almost certainly in their Florentine collection by the mid-16th century. Now thought to date from the second half of the 1st century A.D., it was customary for the copy of the Borghese vase to be given the krater form of the Medici vase, although the original does not have handles.
Another pair of Borghese and Medici marble vases, of identical size and similar date to the present lot, was sold in these rooms, 17 October 2003, lot 124 ($113,525).