Apothecary's wooden sign in the shape of a jester's head

1750-1850 in Europe

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

C18 or c19 carved wooden apothecary's sign in form of jester's head, European

This carved court jester’s head probably acted as an apothecary sign. The gold coloured ball is supposed to represent a pill or a tablet that can be placed in the jester’s open mouth (and which will come out at the base of the neck). The head is 560 mm in height and would have been eye catching for potential customers walking past, including those who could not read, who would have recognised it as a sign of an apothecary’s shop.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Object Number:
structure, wood, carved and surface, plaster, painted
shop sign
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sign - promotional or advertising artefact
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sign - promotional or advertising artefact
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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