Probable Antique Deruta Mid to Late 19th Century
Italian Pottery Apothecary Triangular Bottle with Glass Stopper
This wonderful “blue onion/meissen” style ceramic triangular apothecary bottle stands approximately 8” tall with stopper and 4 ½ inches wide on each of it’s 3 sides. It is believed to have been made in Deruta, Italy sometime between 1850 and 1900. The phrase “Aq. Di Malvo” translates to “Water of Malvo” which is a plant that has been known for it’s medicinal properties, however there are no remnants of any original ingredients. Current international laws would prohibit the sale of such a product without extensive labeling, ingredients and warnings which leads us to this time frame.

This seems to be a very rare and unusual piece. I have enlisted the help of Walter Del Pellegrino, author of: Italian Pottery Marks from Cantagalli to Fornasetti, 1850 to 1950 to help me determine the actual age and origin of this piece. You can read what he says about this piece below. Many thanks to him for taking the time to research this.

This is in wonderful condition, no cracks or chips, minimal wear to the bottom and glass stopper. The stopper is unusual in itself, as it is almost 6” long and is not solid, being fashioned more like a small bottle in and of itself. Larger views are available by clicking on the thumbnail images. Please ask any questions before bidding! Thank you.

Walter Del Pellegrino, author of:
Italian Pottery Marks from Cantagalli to
Fornasetti, 1850 to 1950
“In Italy the Malva is found in the Alps. It is used medicinally as a cough medicine, diuretic and for combating alimentary canal problems BUT it is also used as a lotion for skin care and I believe that your bottle contained a skin care product.

(Sellers note: Because of the design of the stopper, my uneducated opinion is that this was used medicinally, as the stopper is open on the small end, and could possibly have served as the drinking utensil for the liquid within the bottle. I don’t claim to have any information to back this, it is strictly an opinion.)

As to age I agree with Tony that it is antique. That is, if as I suspect, the stopper is glass.

Current international laws would never allow such a product to be sold without extensive labeling- manufacturer, ingredients, warnings, etc.

This product had to have been made in a local apothecary shop or beauty salon more than a hundred years ago. If so, it is extremely rare. Between about 1840 and 1900 there were less than a dozen potteries operating in Deruta due to general financial collapse. Today there are over three hundred potteries in Deruta.

I say probable because although everything is correct as to age, the word Deruta is written in a modern script not used in the 19th century. The paleography (handwriting analysis sometimes used to determine age) also appears not to be done by an Italian hand but appears American in style. This alone does not indicate that the piece isn’t genuine but rather that the word Deruta was added at a later time.

You have an extremely unusual bottle there and as far as I can determine it is a rarely seen item. Unusual shape, unusual glass stopper, unusual ingredients, attractive decoration, superb condition*.”

(*Sellers note: Mr. Del Pellegrino is going only by what he has been told about the condition of this piece, he has no other information and has not inspected this piece personally. Any condition claims are solely the seller’s opinions)

Aq. Di Malva – Water of Malva

Excerpt from a popular botanical site:
A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve:

Disclaimer included on site: Bear in mind “A Modern Herbal” was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900’s. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

The whole plant, particularly the root, abounds with a mild mucilage, which is emollient to a much greater degree than the common Mallow. The generic name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek, altho (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the order, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek, malake (soft), from the special qualities of the Mallows in softening and healing.

Horace and Martial mention the laxative properties of the Marsh Mallow leaves and root, and Virgil tells us of the fondness of goats for the foliage of the Mallow.

Dioscorides extols it as a remedy, and in ancient days it was not only valued as a medicine, but was used, especially the Musk Mallow, to decorate the graves of friends.

Pliny said: ‘Whosoever shall take a spoonful of the Mallows shall that day be free from all diseases that may come to him.’ All Mallows contain abundant mucilage, and the Arab physicians in early times used the leaves as a poultice to suppress inflammation.

Preparations of Marsh Mallow, on account of their soothing qualities, are still much used by country people for inflammation, outwardly and inwardly, and are used for lozenge-making. French druggists and English sweetmeat-makers prepare a confectionary paste (Pâét‚ de Guimauve) from the roots of Marsh Mallow, which is emollient and soothing to a sore chest, and valuable in coughs and hoarseness. The ‘Marsh Mallows’ usually sold by confectioners here are a mixture of flour, gum, egg-albumin, etc., and contain no mallow.

Medicinal Action and Uses — The great demulcent and emollient properties of Marsh Mallow make it useful in inflammation and irritation of the alimentary canal, and of the urinary and respiratory organs. The dry roots boiled in water give out half their weight of a gummy matter like starch. Decoctions of the plant, especially of the root, are very useful where the natural mucus has been abraded from the coats of the intestines, The decoction can be made by adding 5 pints of water to 1/4 lb. of dried root, boiling down to 3 pints and straining: it should not be made too thick and viscid. It is excellent in painful complaints of the urinary organs, exerting a relaxing effect upon the passages, as well as acting curatively. This decoction is also effective in curing bruises, sprains or any ache in the muscles or sinews. In hemorrhage from the urinary organs and in dysentery, it has been recommended to use the powdered root boiled in milk. The action of Marsh Mallow root upon the bowels is unaccompanied by any astringency.

Boiled in wine or milk, Marsh Mallow will relieve diseases of the chest, constituting a popular remedy for coughs, bronchitis, whooping-cough, etc., generally in combination with other remedies. It is frequently given in the form of a syrup, which is best adapted to infants and children.

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