Three 19thC Glass Apothecary Bottles with Painted Gold Banners for Elder Flower Water, Mixture of Senna & Spirit of Rosemary

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Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870-80
Base Diameter: 3.75 inches
Height: 10 inches


The large clear glass bottles having square cut stoppers with original labels in Latin reading AQ: SAMB: FL, SP: ROSMAR: and MIST: SENN: C hand-painted in black over fiery burnished gold banners with frosted necks.

There is some wear to the paint, with the labels varying in condition from excellent to fair, whilst structurally the pieces are sound with no cracks or chips. The stopper for the mixture of senna is currently sealed shut but could probably be loosened if so desired.

The first would have bore elderflower that was used in the preparation of Aqua Sambuci, which is employed in making lotions and collyria as an eye and skin lotion.

The second vessel would have held the compound Mistura Sennas Com-posita or more famously Black Draught. The nauseous "black draught," once in high favour contains sulphate of magnesium, liquorice, cardamoms, aromatic spirit of ammonia and infusion of senna. When taken internally, senna stimulates the muscular coat of the bowel in its entire length, the colon being more particularly affected.

The third bottle carried spirit of rosemary, an efficient nerve stimulant, and may be employed in hysteroidal affections. Externally, it is applied to assuage local pains and can be combined with oils and used to prevent premature baldness.

Painted labels such as these were eventually phased out and replaced with labels under glass (LUG) later in the century so as to stop the abrasion of the labels themselves.

Three beautiful bottles that would be perfect serving as an original gift or for those with gaps in their apothecary collection that require filling.

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