Genuine Victorian Transfer Printed CURE ALL Ointment Pot HOLLOWAY'S OINTMENT for the cure of Gout and Rheumatism Sore Heads Sore Breasts & Bad Legs! 533 Oxford Street c. 1880
This is a fabulous tiny little transferware ointment pot or crock, circa 1880, salvaged from a Victorian tip in England. It once contained Holloway's Ointment, advertised as the cure for gout, rheumatism, inveterate ulcers, sore breasts, sore heads, bad legs, and whatever else ails you! The little ointment was made and sold by "Professor" Thomas Holloway, a reknowned snake oil salesmen in Britain. The product was shear quackery, but the Professor was highly successful in his aggressive advertising schemes before his death in 1883.
The crock was made in the Staffordshire district and is transfer printed in black. In addition to the name of the product and the boastful claims, the pot contains the trademark image of a goddess wearing an ethereal white robe suggestively showing the outline of her breasts, and flanked by a snake, the symbol for healing. At her left knee is a small child holding a banner that reads ‘NEVER DESPAIR’. The images are of Hygeia, the goddess of health, and Hygeia's baby brother Telesphorus, the demi-god of convalescence, who brings fulfillment, recuperation and complete recovery from illness. Holloway's initials, TH, are fainly embossed into the inside bottom of the pot. There is no maker's mark.
The tiny crock stands a mere 1 3/8" tall and 1 3/4" wide, thinly potted with a precision cut foot and rounded lip. It is in remarkably good condition, clean and bright, with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Not fine pottery and not intended to me, haphazardly made and considered to be disposable with smudgy transfers and minor manufacturing flaws, original to the making. All to be expected from a piece that was buried for about 100 years. A great display piece and ready for creative reuse.
This diminutive little piece is wildly amusing, a throwback to a much simpler and goofier time in the world of medicine. The piece will make a great addition to any collection of transfer printed advertising wares or quack medicines .