The original vase, which was colossal in size, and made of marble, was discovered in 1771. It was purchased by the English dealer Sir William Hamilton, who took advantage of the relaxation of laws prohibiting the removal of such antiquities from the Papal States.
After restoration, the Antique vase was sold to the Earl of Warwick. Whilst the Earl was reluctant to have copies made, reductions were, however, produced from engravings made by Piranesi.
See Taste and The Antique, Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Yale University Press.