Dispensing pot for laudanum, Italy, 1771-1830

Made:
1771-1830 in Italy
maker:
Unknown

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From left to right: A112513, Italian pharmacy vase, early C19 polychrome maiolica, perhaps Ligurian, used for laudanum.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

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

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

Italian pharmacy vase, early C19 polychrome maiolica, perhaps Ligurian, inscribed 'LAUD:NEP:QUERC', empty.

Some of the ingredients used in medical treatments seem to belong to the world of fantasy rather than pharmacy. On the far left is a dispensing pot labelled “LAUD:NEP:QUERC”. This is laudanum, a treatment made from opium, gold and pearls. Mixed with a powdered bezoar stone from the stomach of an animal and shavings of mythical unicorn horn, the medicine was given to aid sleep and ease pain. The jar, one of four shown here, was presented as a gift to the Wellcome collection on the previous owner’s death in 1932.

Details

Category:
Medical Ceramic-ware
Object Number:
A112513
Materials:
ceramic, complete, empty
type:
dispensing pot
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • drug
  • amulet
credit:
Wellcome Trust

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