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Two-handled pharmacy jar

Italian, probably Siena, Montelupo or elsewhere in Tuscany, c.1510–30.

The central medallion of this pharmacy jar or albarello features an idealized woman resting on a shield and holding a spear, perhaps a personification of Fortitude. Beneath is an inscription, ‘SLI ROI P’, possibly for ‘salvia ridotto praeparatio’ (reduced sage preparation). While the front of the jar is richly decorated, the back – which would not have been on view – remains unembellished. It was part of a set, from which nine other examples survive, which once lined the shelves of a commercial or monastic pharmacy.

H.S. Reitlinger Bequest, 1950

Cat. no. 25

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