Antimony cup, Europe, 1501-1700

1501-1700 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Antimony cup, probably 16th or 17th century. Graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Antimony cup, probably 16th or 17th century

Cups made from antimony, a toxic, metallic element, became popular in the 1600s as a means of purging the body of illness through the sweating and vomiting this poison caused. Wine would be allowed to stand in the cup for up to 24 hours, by which time a small amount of the metal had dissolved.

It has been suggested that the cups were introduced in order to get around the law at a time when the sale and use of antimony preparations was strictly forbidden. When making such a preparation, three tablespoons of antimony could cause the desired effects, although it would have been a highly unpleasant experience.


Object Number:
antimony cup
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • drinking vessel
  • cup

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.