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Glass pharmacy storage bottle, Italy, 1864

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Illustrated with an image of a woman giving birth, this bottle originates from the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence, Italy, a hospital founded in 1288 by a rich benefactor. The hospital was unusual for its time as it was a secular institution. Most hospital care was carried out by religious orders. The bottle’s contents are protected by a velvet-covered glass stopper and it was bought in Florence by one of Henry Wellcome’s collecting agents, Captain Johnston-Saint, in November 1929.

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Glossary: bottle

Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.