Three Italian earthenware pharmacy jars, 1520-1580.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The albarello type of storage vesel originated in Persia and was widely adopted by the pharmaceutical potters of Europe. The cylindrical vesel has inward-curving sides and a flange over which a parchment cover may be tied. The term 'maiolica' is applied to a fine kind of Italian tin glazed earthenware, often ornamented and richly coloured. It was introduced into Italy in the 14th century (the name being derived from the island of Mallorca) and flourished thoughout the 16th and 17th centuries.