Small albarello, tin glazed earthenware, used for spermaceti cream, Barcelona, Spain, 1801-1830
Spermaceti is the oily substance from the head of a sperm whale. It was once used in large amounts as the base in medicinal ointments as well as cosmetics and moisturisers. A full-grown sperm whale may yield one tonne of spermaceti. However, because it is difficult to obtain the oil is very expensive. The jar used to store the oil is thought to be from Italy.