The Bruising Apothecary: Images of Pharmacy and Medicine in Caricature




Medical: Storage WZ336 R888



London: Pharmaceutical Press


Morison’s Pills/The True Lifepreserver, c. 1838. This caricature parodies patent medicines and some of the health claims made in advertising. The sailor is being kept afloat by Morison’s Pills while other figures, representing various well known medicines, are floundering in the sea. Many patent medicines (also known as proprietary or popular medicines; most of these medicines were trademarked but not actually patented) were advertised as cure-alls which could cure a great range of ailments. Morison’s Pills was the invention of quasi-physician James Morison who claimed his pills would ‘make every man his own doctor’. The pills were widely distributed in England and all over the world. These types of medicines have a long association with pharmacy as they were sold in pharmacy stores and some were invented by pharmacists.


Morrisons Pills.jpg


Kate Arnold-Forster and Nigel Tallis, “The Bruising Apothecary: Images of Pharmacy and Medicine in Caricature,” | OUR Heritage, accessed February 24, 2024,