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Pharmacy jar: C.2036-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Production: Emens, Jan




Grey salt-glazed stoneware with relief decoration painted in blue. On the front is an elaborate frame enclosing an inscription in relief, '1591/'EERT.GOT./ BOVEN. AL/IEM' (1591/HONOUR GOD ABOVE ALL/ potter's initials)

Grey stoneware, thrown, with applied moulded decoration partly picked out in cobalt- blue under salt-glaze. The cylindrical jar has turned bands around its base and top, and a projecting rim at the top. On the front is a rectangular cartouche surrounded by an elaborate Mannerist style frame comprising scrolls, strapwork, and architectural elements, partly picked out in cobalt-blue. Within it is the raised inscription, '1591/'EERT.GOT./BOVEN.AL/IEM' (1591 HONOUR GOD ABOVE ALL and the potter's initials).


History note: Bought in Andover many years earlier by John Bowden, Wardour Street, London, from whom bought on 31 May 1894 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 16.3 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Raeren ⪼ Duchy of Limbourg ⪼ Germany

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Late
Production date: dated AD 1591


Few Raeren pharmacy jars have survived in comparison with tankards and jugs. Their forms were derived from Italian maiolica jars, and Emens was probably inspired by seeing Italian style examples made by Antwerp potters. This jar has a simple cylindrical form with a projecting rim which would have made it easy to tie on a cover. Other examples have gadrooning round the shoulder and lower part which imitated the decoration of Italian maiolica jars more closely. The elaborate frame comprising scrolls, strapwork, and architectural elements is typical of Mannerist style frames of the second half of the 16th century. The inscription on this jar is not associated with physical health, but a jar in the British Museum is inscribed in German, 'These contents will make the gentlemen and highnesses sing with praise, and restore the health of he sick'. Some jars may have been used for non-medical purposes, such as the ingredients of cosmetics. Although Raeren is now in the province of Liège in Belgium its stoneware is usually treated as German stoneware in publications.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of cobalt oxide
Surface composed of salt-glaze
Base Diameter 10 cm
Rim Diameter 10 cm

Materials used in production

grey Stoneware

Techniques used in production

Throwing (pottery technique)

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: letters and stops in relief within a moulded frame

  • Text: 1591/.EERT.GOT/.BOVEN.AL/IEM
  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Moulded in relief an applied
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2036-1928
Primary reference Number: 73034
Old object number: 2080
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 21 February 2023 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Pharmacy jar" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-18 00:12:55

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