The Apothecary's Shop

WAG 7584


Agnes McWhirter was a self-taught artist who exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. She abandoned painting landscapes in oils after painting outdoors ruined her health. Instead she turned to watercolours of still lives and flowers. She later moved to London and exhibited at the Dudley Gallery, the Royal Academy and the Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions. This watercolour is intended to illustrate lines from WIlliam Shakespeare's play 'Romeo and Juliet', which describe an apothecary's shop. The apothecary provides Romeo with the poison he wishes to take so that he does not have to live without Juliet, who he thinks is dead. ". . . And in his needy shop a tortoise hung, An alligator stuff'd, and other skins Of ill shaped fishes; and about his shelves A beggarly account of empty boxes, Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds . . . " (Act 5. Scene 1)