Tin-glazed earthenware pharmacy storage jar, portrait of St. John the Baptist, made at Venice, Italian, 1501-1600
Many Christians have long believed that the saints are able to plead with God on their behalf and that particular saints can give protection against, or help cure, specific illnesses. Painted on the earthenware jar (on the right hand side of the photograph) is the figure of St John the Baptist, who baptised Jesus. St John’s Wort is named after him as the plant is said to flower on the eve of his feast day. The plant was used to treat wounds and is now sometimes used to treat clinical depression. It is shown here with a similar jar depicting St Lawrence (A42578).