The Pottery Room
The adjacent Pottery Room displays a series of pharmacy containers of high artistic value. Pitchers, vases, 'albarelli' jugs and bottles, all artistically decorated are the vestiges of a long standing tradition which since the Renaissance has seen the Italian craftsmen in the forefront, above all in Tuscany, Umbria and Romagna. Suffice to mention that the town of Faenza has given the universally known name (faience) to the enamel pottery. Amongst the items shown in this room are some very rare 'equal arm' metal scales; others are visible standing in the glass cabinets on the landing, some of them complete with weights. Also worth of notice is a series of weights stacked up in an artistically decorated bronze container.
Medicinal containers underwent an evolution in their shape in an attempt to discover forms most suited to the conservation of medicines and to their usage by apothecaries. The most distinctive and most typical resembled a bamboo cane, which was used to contain ointments and soft substances. One of the splendid majolica examples on display was made in the fifteenth century and decorated with the pattern known as the "peacock's eye". This rare decoration is typical of the Renaissance and confers elegance and refinement on the container.
This room also contains a collection of scales, another instrument that was indispensable to the apothecary. Until the nineteenth century scales were nearly always of the suspended sort (beam scales). A superb monastic balance from the sixteenth century can be seen in a prominent position in the room. With the later development of systematic and experimental chemistry, more precise scales appeared, for example, the column and in vetrina types. The theme of the ceramics room is the history of the Salernitan Medical School, which around the year 1000 gave a new impulse to the study of medicine in Europe.
Some of our pottery