Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Museum Treasures

Materia Medica cabinet, 1754

Materia medica cabinet, 1754

Source: RPS Museum

An 18th century apprentice would have been familiar with drug specimen cabinets like this one

This beautiful mahogany cabinet was commissioned in 1754 by the firm Corbyn, Stacey & Company. It holds 462 drug specimens from a variety of sources (as indicated by the labels on the drawers), including minerals, roots, and animal parts. The space in the middle probably held a microscope.

Prior to the formation of the Society in 1841, cabinets like these were used to test chemists’ and druggists’ apprentices. The last of Corbyn, Stacey and Company’s retail premises at High Holborn closed in 1896, after which they became wholesale suppliers. The cabinet was given to the Society’s museum in 1908.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204888

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

RPS publications

Pharmaceutical Press is the publishing division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and is a leading provider of authoritative pharmaceutical information used throughout the world.


Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
PJJ Static MPU
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Materia medica cabinet, 1754

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.