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English Delftware Drug Jar: Angel With Outspread Wings design, 1684

© 2021 Royal Pharmaceutical Society


The ‘angel with outspread wings’ design emerged around the time of the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660.
The contents label is similar to the ‘Ribbon cartouche’ design, with the label in the form of a ribbon with ends similar to a swallow’s tail. Above the label is an angel’s head with outspread wings.
The folding of the ribbon forms two compartments. The left hand one was typically used for the initial letter of the type of preparation the jar contained, for example ‘S’ for syrups, ‘C’ for conserve, and ‘O’ for oleum (oil).

The inscription on this wet drug jar ‘O VULPIN: M:H 1684’ reveals the jar was used for storing Oleum Vulpinum, Oil of Fox. M.H. are the initials of Michael Hastings of Dublin, the apothecary who commissioned the jar. The jar was manufactured in London in 1684.

The ‘angel with outspread wings’ design was used on English Delftware drug jars from around 1660-1725.


This jar forms part of a set commissioned by the apothecary Michael Hastings (of which at least 15 have survived). All of the jars are inscribed ‘M:H 1684’. Hastings was the founder of the business at 49 Dawson Street, Dublin in 1684, the year on the jars.