Building Trust, Establishing Authority, and Communicating Efficacy: The Visual and Material Experience of Apothecary Shops in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic
Author(s): Christopher Booth
This is an abstract from the session entitled "“And in his needy shop a tortoise hung”: Construction Of Retail Environments And The Agency Of Retailers In Historical Archaeology" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.
Apothecaries in the early modern world existed somewhere between medical professional and shopkeeper and were conduits for the importation and consumption of plants and other materials from across the world. Due to the inability of most customers or patients to identify the products that they sold however, medicine, and especially pharmacy, was an area of great anxiety.
The apothecary addressed these concerns through the design of their shop; developing a highly constructed visual and material experience for their patients and customers which served to both overtly and subtly reinforce their trustworthiness, confirm the authenticity of their ingredients, and emphasise their own skills and knowledge in the preparation of effective medicines. The materials they used to create this space and communicate these ideas to their customers included the display of unusual specimens, usually taxidermy, the use of highly decorated drug jars, and the display of compounding instruments.
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Building Trust, Establishing Authority, and Communicating Efficacy: The Visual and Material Experience of Apothecary Shops in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic. Christopher Booth. 2020 ( tDAR id: 456768)
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min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;
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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology