Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pharmacy bottle

ca. 1470–1500
Italian, probably Pesaro
Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
Overall (confirmed): 12 1/8 × 7 9/16 × 7 9/16 in. (30.8 × 19.2 × 19.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1965
Accession Number:
Not on view
Vessels of this shape, with long, narrow necks, were designed to hold liquid preparations. In this example, the inscription shows that it was meant to contain water of the bugloss plant, once valued as an antivenom. Such labels first appeared on Italian pharmacy jars in the mid-1400s and became commonplace by the end of the century. The striking peacock-feather ornament helps trace the bottle’s manufacture to the town of Pesaro, where it was a favorite design.
Inscription: Inscribed on white band, in blue enamel: aqua de bogolosa [trans.: Water of Bugloss]

Sticker on inside of rim: C 1945

Notations written on underside: 80/ TV3/ A (?)

Marking: Unmarked
Adolf von Beckerath , Berlin (by 1898–1913; his sale, Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, Berlin, Berlin, November 4–5, 1913, no. 49); Walter von Pannwitz , Berlin (until d. 1920) ; [ Rosenberg & Stiebel , New York, until 1965; one of fourteen maiolica pieces given by the dealers to MMS in exchange for a group of eighteenth-century boxes and dance cards (carnets de bal) from the Morgan collection ]
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