The Giustiniani Medicine Chest, Genoese, c.1565

Genoese medicine chest, c 1565.

This medicine chest was made for Vincenzo Giustiniani (d. 1570), the last Genoese governor of the island of Chios in the eastern Aegean Sea. He ruled Chios from 1562 until the Turks expelled the Genoese in 1566 after an occupation of some two hundred years. On a box from the middle drawer is painted the device of Chios: a black eagle above a three-towered castle.

The chest still holds 126 bottles and pots for drugs, some of which appear to have 16th century contents. The painting on the inside of the lid, however, dates from somewhat later. The chest was owned by the Giustiniani family until bought by Henry Wellcome in 1924.

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