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A late Renaissance mortar in the shape typical of the Low Countries and with a unique silvery colour.
The mortar was made by one of leading casters of Deventer, Gerrit Schimmel, and it is part of a pair. The other is dated from 1688 and signed by the same author. It is at present being exhibited in a museum in Rotterdam.

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A late Renaissance mortar in the shape typical of the Low Countries and with a unique silvery colour. The coat is covered with relief decoration in the form of two friezes separated by a profiled ring: the upper frieze is narrower, with a late Renaissance Dutch grotesque scene of masks, animals, vases and a ferrule ornament. The lower, broader frieze contains spiral intertwined twigs, a figure of a deer and the coat of arms of Deventer repeated three times. There is also an escutcheon bearing the coat of arms with an image of an eagle with an imperial crown on its head and carried on ribbons by two birds. On the collar of the mortar, there is an inscription in Renaissance majuscule: ARNOLT. FRANCKEN. ME. FUNDERE IUSSIT. 1683.
The mortar was made by one of leading casters of Deventer, Gerrit Schimmel, and it is part of a pair. The other is dated from 1688 and signed by the same author. It is at present being exhibited in a museum in Rotterdam. The vessel was funded by Arnoldt Francken, a pharmacist (who died in 1707), a citizen of Zuphen, a town located near Deventer. Francken worked from a hospital and became the owner of a pharmacy in the Main Market Square (it has been owned by his descendants for six generations). The mortar was kept in the pharmacy during the years 1718–1890 and then it was sold to M. Jacobs, the antiquary, as there were no more chemists to continue the line. Next, it became part of the Sickhard Renaissance collection in Vienna, where it was then sold by Szymon Szwarc to Wawel along with the collection, for the sum of three thousand zlotys. It has been a part of the Wawel collection since January 1936. It is currently being exhibited in the room called the Alchemy Room located on the first floor of the Royal Castle, along with other mortars of the 15th-18th centuries.

Elaborated by Anna Petrus (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Pharmaceutical mortar

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