Skip to main content

Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

241: One-handled spouted pharmacy jar

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)

One-handled spouted pharmacy jar
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn RSS feed for events RSS feed for stories
University of Cambridge Museums logo Designation scheme Logo Accredited Museum status logo Cambridge City Council Logo Arts Council England Logo Research England logo