Hyoscy Apothecary Bottle

Unknown British, British


late 18th to early 19th century

Amethyst glass with gold leaf label

Overall: 16 × 10 in. (40.6 × 25.4 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Marie-Elaine Tefft, Trustee, in memory of Thomas E. Tefft and his son, Stanton E. Tefft



Place Made: England, Europe


18th century

Object Name


Research Area

Decorative Arts

On view


Likely made and used in Britain, this large amethyst apothecary bottle was handblown by a glassmaker, an amazing feat given its size and remarkable evenness. Glass is made from sand that is melted in fires over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In this state, it looks like a gel-like liquid, which can be blown and shaped before hardening into glass. The goldleaf label on this bottle for Hyoscy, known today as hyoscyamine, is a medicine still used to treat digestive problems, but it can be poisonous if consumed in large doses. An apothecary shop keeper would have dispensed small amounts to customers from this large bottle.

From the 2023 exhibition Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Art History 40.01, American Art and Identity, Mary Coffey, Fall 2023

Creative Writing 10.02, Writing and Reading Fiction, Katherine Crouch, Fall 2023

Geography 11.01, Qualitative Methods, Emma Colven, Fall 2023

Geography 2.01, Introduction to Human Geography, Coleen Fox, Fall 2023

Geography 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, Israel Sack Gallery and the Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 2023-June 16, 2024.


Thomas E. Tefft; to his son, Stanton E. Tefft and his wife Marie-Elaine Tefft, Bedford, New Hampshire; given to present collection, 2022.

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