Model alligator, England, 1801-1900
Alligators such as this one were once commonly hung from the ceilings of apothecary shops. They appear to have been symbols associated with the profession and one was even mentioned by William Shakespeare who, in Romeo and Juliet, describes an apothecary in which hangs “An alligator stuff’d, and other skins of ill-shaped fishes”. Apothecaries and barber-surgeons were close professions and the latter also had similar creatures on display in their premises.
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