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'The Laboratory', print, London, England, 1842

The print shows the back room of an apothecary or pharmacist’s shop where all the treatments and preparations are made. A number of pestles and mortars are on the floor and on top of tables along with mixing bowls and jars of ingredients. The owner of the shop is the man sitting on an old barrel, while his son or apprentice cleans up the back room. The scene is very different from the clean, tidy and clinical pharmacies that are seen in England today and is a fairly accurate representation of an apothecary of the time. The print was taken from a painting by W Hunt (active before 1842) and engraved by J G Murray.

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Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: apothecary

A term used until about 1800 to describe someone who prepares and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes. Today the term ‘pharmacist’ or ‘pharmaceutical chemist’ is used instead.

Glossary: mortar

Cup-shaped vessel in which drugs or herbal mixtures are pounded with a pestle.

Glossary: pestle

An elongated piece of hard material usually made of stone. A pestle is used for grinding pigments, herbs, spices or other materials in a mortar.

Glossary: engraving

A technique to obtain prints from an engraved surface. Engraving is the practice of cutting into a hard, usually flat surface.