Colonial Apothecary Cabinet C1840

posted 17 Sept 2016, 19:17 by Patrick Robinson   [ updated 13 Jul 2020, 00:23 ]
Original apothecary cabinet reputed to have come from the Salt Water Creek Penal Settlement near Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, circa 1840.
The drawers are in original condition, with the hand painted labels clearly describing what a mixed bag of goods were available: mace, caraway seeds, and salt petre, for instance. The hand drawn lettering font is Didot Bold, which originated from France in 1830 and spread rapidly across the globe.

Most of the brass handles are original and some of the drawer interiors have been rebuilt. Most, approximately 24 of the 32 drawers still retain ink pricing inscriptions in pounds shillings and pence, locating the provenance as certainly British Colonial.
The drawers have been scientifically identified as western white cedar and Central American cedar, both from 'the new world'. It may have been imported from there ready made or repurposed from immigrant boats arriving at the colony.

The cabinet is freestanding, although originally built in, as the sides top and base are bare of polish and there are reference marks from old fixing points. The plinth base has been added later.
An intriguing, rare and lovely piece.