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Drug jar

Drug jar

  • Place of origin:

    Montelupo (possibly, made)
    Tuscany (made)

  • Date:

    1490-1510 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware, painted in colours

  • Credit Line:

    Castellani Collection

  • Museum number:

    667-1884

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, case 9

This jar was used for storing drugs. It would have been part of a set of similar jars for different drugs, belonging to a pharmacy. The constriction just underneath the rim was used to close the pot off with a piece of parchment or paper and a string. A few more jars from the same set have survived, including one with a spout, for a liquid drug.
Pharmacies in the Renaissance period were usually run by a monastic orders as part of their hospitals, or by one of the leading local families. The badge of the order or the arms of the family can be found on many surviving drug jars. The flower on our jar would probably have had such a function.

Physical description

Drugjar of tin-glazed earthenware, painted in colours, depicting a single flower in a wreath above a label with inscription: 'E LEBERO.BIÃCHO'. Above and beneath the letters, faint blue lines can be seen, which were used as a guide for the painter of the script. The rest of the body is covered with gothic foliage against a background of small spirals and dots. On the shoulder and around the base circular rings with a middle band of dashes.

Place of Origin

Montelupo (possibly, made)
Tuscany (made)

Date

1490-1510 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware, painted in colours

Marks and inscriptions

'E LEBERO.BIÃCHO'
'[not certain what first initial and second word mean] white'
The Italian inscription on the painted label refers to the original contents of the jar.

Dimensions

Height: 25.8 cm, Diameter: 14.5 cm

Object history note

Castellani collection; acquired with another drug jar from the set: 667a-1884 , transferred to Circulation 10th February 1909

Historical context note

This jar was used for storing drugs. It would have been part of a set of similar jars for different drugs, belonging to a pharmacy. The constriction just underneath the rim was used to close the pot off with a piece of parchment or paper and a string. A few more jars from the same set have survived, including one with a spout, for a liquid drug.

Descriptive line

Drugjar, tin-glazed earthenware, painted in colours with flower in a wreath and inscription 'E LEBERO.BIÃCHO'

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Cora, G., Storia della maiolica di Firenze e del contado: Secoli xiv e xv, Firenze 1973, 213a
Bojani, G.C., C. Ravanelli Guidotti, A. Fanfani, La donazione Galeazzo Cora: ceramiche dal medioevo al XIX secolo, Milano, 1985, p. 182, cat 451
Biscontini Ugolini, Grazia (Ed), I Vasi da farmacia nella collezione Bayer: Pharmacy jars in the Bayer Collection, Milan, 1997, cat. 9, pp. 60-61

Production Note

Stated by Cora, 1973 to be from Florentine Zone (see Bibl.Ref.)

Subjects depicted

Flower

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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