The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Pharmacy jar
  • Pharmacy jar
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Probably Deruta, Italy
  • c. 1460 - 1500
  • Tin-glazed earthenware, painted
  • Height: 21 cm
    Diameter: 14 cm, body
    Width: 25.5 cm, maximum
  • Mark: 'x'
  • C81
  • Smoking Room
  • This drug jars show the early influence of Spanish tin-glazed and painted ceramics on potters in the small Umbrian town of Deruta, before the influence of classical antiquity came to dominate the decoration of Italian maiolica, the tin-glazed and painted earthenware associated most closely with late fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy. The Spanish influence is evident in the vessel form itself, and in the bold white, cobalt blue and manganese palette, the simple, compartmentalised patterns, the armorial shield and the flat, cusped handles with their incised decoration. Cheap and non-porous, maiolica albarelli were used in pharmacies to store dry or semi-solid ingredients, covered with a piece of paper or parchment secured below the rim.