Drug jar

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possibly made at Castel Durante, Italy

Postcard of Drug jar.
© National Museums Scotland

Drug jar

This maiolica drug jar was made in Italy, possibly at Castel Durante. It dates from the mid or late 16th century.

The jar is decorated in polychrome with a medallion of St Martin and the beggar, with a border of trophies and musical instruments. It is inscribed 'ELo : ROS TO : MESS' [Rose petals of Messue].

The pale colouring with light greyish-blue, yellow and orange predominating on a white ground is inspired by a type of sketchy decoration used by contemporary decorators at Faenza in Italy and known as the 'stile compendiario'. The jar probably contained an electuary made from rose petals following the formula of Messue. Messue was a medieval writer, possibly fictitious, to whom were ascribed various medical writings.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-091-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1865.39.20 A
Date: Early 18th century
Mid or late 16th century
Material: Earthenware. Inscription: EL MATRICINO
Dimensions: 173 mm H x 105 mm D
What: Jar, drug
Subject: Ceramics : earthenware : Italy : Rome
Who: St Benedict (Depicted (?))
Where: Italy, Castelli
Description: Tin-glazed earthenware jug painted in polychrome with a saint holding a staff and book and with a raven, and inscribed "EL MATRICINO": Italian, Castelli, early 18th century
  • Curnow, Celia, Italian Maiolica in the National Museums of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1992 
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