Arsenic Jar Limoges Porcelain

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A late 19th century porcelain arsenic jar hand painted around the last quarter of the 19th century.

The jar is beautifully decorated with fired on enamel floral motifs. It has an ormolu rim and clasp to lid. The base is stamped LIMOGES and signed as shown and the artwork signed by the artist.

Arsenic compounds were used in the 18th, 19th centuries to treat syphilis and trypanosomiasis. Because the symptoms of arsenic poisoning were non specific it was became a favourite poison and became variable known as “inheritance powder”, the “poison of kings” and the “king of poisons”. In Victorian times “white arsenic” (arsenic trioxide) was mixed with vinegar and chalk and eaten by women to improve the complexion of their faces, making their skin paler to show they did not work in the fields. Arsenic was also rubbed into the faces and arms of women to “improve their complexion”.

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