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Pill-tile: C.1378-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Pottery: unidentified London pottery




Buff earthenware, tin-glazed on the front and painted in blue and manganese-purple. Octagonal with two suspension holes at the top. Painted on the front with a simplified version of the arms of the Worshipfull Company of Apothecaries with the motto 'OPIFERQUE PER ORBEM DICOR' in manganese on a curved ribbon below


History note: Said to have come from Burnham Hall, near Wells, Norfolk; Mr Elliott, an antique dealer at Heacham, near Hunstanton, Norfolk, from whom bought on 17 April, 1900 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 1.7 cm
Height: 29.7 cm
Width: 23.8 cm

Relative size of this object

23.8 cm29.7 cm1.7 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


Third quarter of 18th century
Circa 1750 CE - 1775 CE


The latin motto of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries was taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book I:521-2 where Apollo says, ‘inventum medicina meum est, opiferque per orbem dicor, et herbarum subiecta potentia nobis ei mihi’ (I am called Help-Bringer throughout the world and all the potency of herbs is given unto me).

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colour ( blue from cobalt)
Front composed of tin-glaze

Materials used in production

buff Earthenware

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On ribbon below arms
  • Method of creation: Painted in manganese-purple
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1378-1928
Primary reference Number: 71891
Old object number: 1082
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Tuesday 14 February 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Pill-tile" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-03-25 18:28:53

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=Pill-tile |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-03-25 18:28:53|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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