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Magnificent Victorian Chemist’s Carboy


A large and impressive hand-blown glass apothecary’s carboy with facetted crystal glass stopper from K H Emeleus Chemist & Druggist of Battle, Sussex. This exceptional carboy would have stood pride-of-place in their late 19th century chemist’s windows, filled with coloured liquid, standing as the eye-catching trademark for this chemist’s dispensary.

Mouth blown and with a particularly elegant inverted pontil mark to its base, our chemist’s carboy is a truly handsome vessel, a rarity – in fact, unique. It is also in immaculate condition, which is rare for a carboy of this age – as usually they're clouded with irremovable residues and bear the scars of their years, such as chips to the stopper and rim.  Yet this one is tip-top, and with its original stopper.


A symbol of the pharmacy from the 17th century to the early 20th century, the carboy marked the chemist or apothecary in much the same way as the barber’s pole marked its establishments (see images). People who were illiterate needed such symbols to locate their medical practitioners. The contents of K H Emeleus of Battle was sold off many moons ago: old apothecary drawers, leech jars, and dispensing books dating back to 1857, which themselves were records of many of the old Battle families, who also ordered such things as 'plate polish'.  Yet not all had gone, and we have been lucky enough to acquire several boxes of their traditional glass bottles and ceramic jars complete with tinctures and remedial unguents - including this magnificent carboy – all of which had been stashed-away in a descendant’s attic.

Please note: these large window-display jars were hand-blown and so rarely stand straight, such as this one  – and were supplied with a shallow wooden ring stand. We have its stand, not shown.

Country of origin: UK

Date of manufacture: c.1890

Material: handblown glass with crystal facet cut stopper

Dimensions: Height 66cm, Girth 107cm

Condition: excellent, with no damage or staining


This is a very fragile item, so we would prefer it if you were to collect or we can arrange delivery by a specialist courier.