Early modern ‘pharmacy jars’ often had painted labels to indicate their contents. These inscriptions frequently used the specialised vocabulary of published medical texts and ‘books of secrets’. This pharmacy jar, formed as a spouted pitcher, is labelled: ‘O[x]ymel composito’. Made with vinegar and honey, Oxymel was a therapeutic sweet- and-sour concoction known from ancient Roman sources, used to treat asthma as well as conjunctivitis. The warming nature of the remedy is alluded to by the old man who points at a flaming brazier.
Workshop of Orazio Pompei (c.1516–90/96)
Castelli, Italy, c.1545–55
Tin-glazed and painted earthenware (maiolica)
F. Leverton Harris Bequest, 1926 (C.64-1927)