Syrup jug, north Italian, C19 polychrome maiolica, inscribed 'SYR:ALTH:FERN:' used for marshmallow or althaea syrup
This blue and white syrup jug is painted with ‘SYR:ALTH:FERN.’ It reveals the jug once held Fernelius’ syrup of marshmallow. This was devised by French physician Jean Françoise Fernel (1497-1558). Syrup of marshmallow was for ‘soothing the chest, easing expectoration...kidney ailments and calming burning urine.’ The jug is made of a fine Italian tin-glazed earthenware known as ‘maiolica’. The name is derived from the island of Mallorca and the material was introduced into Italy in the 1300s. It flourished throughout the 1500s and 1600s.