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Pharmacy jar: C.249-1991

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown (Probably)




Maiolica pharmacy jar, painted in polychrome with, on the front and back, oval panels each containing a different woman's head.

Earthenware, tin-glazed off-white on the exterior and very thinly on the interior; base unglazed. Painted in thick greyish-blue, green, yellow, orange, and brown.
Broad albarello with curved shoulders, short neck and flat rim, which has warped in firing.
On the front and back are oval panels bordered by two blue bands, each containing a different woman's head, surrounded by orange lines on a yellow ground. The sides are decorated with a stylised flower and foliage reserved in a blue ground incised with curved strokes. On the shoulder and above the base are single orange bands flanked by blue.


History note: H.S. Reitlinger (d.1950); the Reitlinger Trust, Maidenhead, from which transferred in 1991.

Legal notes

H.S. Reitlinger Bequest, 1950

Measurements and weight

Height: 25.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Gerace ⪼ Calabria ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1950) by Reitlinger, Henry Scipio


17th Century#
Circa 1600 - 1630


This jar is decorated in the Venetian style of the second half of the 16th century, but the thick, crude painting suggests that it was made in the early 17th century, and probably at Gerace in Calabria, rather than at Venice

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( thick greyish-blue, green, yellow, orange, and brown)
Base Diameter 14.9 cm
Rim Diameter 15.6 cm
Widest Part Diameter 20.5 cm

Materials used in production

base unglazed Tin-glaze

Techniques used in production

Tin-glazing : Earthenware, tin-glazed off-white on the exterior and very thinly on the interior; base unglazed. Painted in thick greyish-blue, green, yellow, orange, and brown.

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.249-1991
Primary reference Number: 73593
Packing number: EURCER 377
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Pharmacy jar" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-05 20:01:33

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{{cite web|url= |title=Pharmacy jar |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-12-05 20:01:33|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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