Cantharidine blistering tissue in original wrapper, England, 1855-1875

1855-1875 in Handsworth
Thomas B Brown

Buy this image as a print 

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

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

Cantheridine blistering tissue, in original wrapper, by T.B. Brown, English

Cantharidine is a substance secreted from a type of beetle, commonly known as the ‘Spanish fly’. It was used as a counter-irritant, the technique being to irritate one part of the body, raising blisters on the skin, in order to relieve it in another. Care had to be taken when applying the cantharidine tissue, as it could cause excessive damage if not used cautiously. It was recommended that a handkerchief or piece of linen be placed over it when used on adults – a cabbage leaf was recommended for children.


Object Number:
paper and tissue
overall - tissue: 165 mm x 65 mm
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • dressings

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.