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This is one of a pair of paintings (see CWLF 127, 406900) depicting a collector surrounded by his possessions and an physician in his laboratory. Both works consciously perpetuate the tradition of David Teniers, who specialised in alchemists and collector

Objects and paintings illustrating the changing perception and use of medicine

Augsburg [Germany]

Reiseapotheke or travelling medicine cabinet c.1600 with eighteenth century table stand

RCIN 72522

King's Dining Room, Windsor Castle

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Selection of items inside Augsburg Medicine Chest

Selection of items inside Augsburg Medicine Chest ©

This travelling medicine cabinet was made in Augsburg, Germany, in the early seventeenth century where it would have been called a Reiseapotheke. First used by surgeons serving on merchant and naval vessels, they became popular in aristocratic households.

Some of these cabinets could contain as many as 300 small bottles and vials as well as surgical instruments. This cabinet still contains its original glass and silver bottles, a ladle, bowl, ebonised wood and silver boxes, a mirror and even a tongue depressor.