A year in the life...

The royal pharmacy
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 - The royal pharmacy - Techno-Impressionist Museum - Techno-Impressionism - art - beautiful - photo photography picture - by Tony Karp

The Real Oficina de Farmacia (Royal Pharmacy) is one of the more interesting sights at the Royal Palace in Madrid. It's been restored to its original state, with many of the original pharmaceutical tools on view. (I'm not sure what purpose the crocodile served. It may have had some medicinal use, or perhaps it was just there to impress the customers.)

Now, in your imagination, picture yourself the king of Spain, two hundred years ago, sitting around El Palacio Real, and suddenly you get a splitting headache. So you send for the Royal Physician, who shows up, runs a quick diagnosis, and writes you a prescription for a headache cure. You hand the prescription to some royal lackey and guess where he goes to get it filled? Rite-Aid? CVS? Why bother with sending out for drugs when you have your own pharmacy?

And this is where it ends up, In this dingy, dirty place that would give any modern pharmacist a heart attack. But if you think that's bad, imagine where the average Madrileno went for a headache cure.

When I searched on the web for references to the Royal Pharmacy, I found lots of them, but no pictures of the place, even on the Royal Palace's own web site. I think it's because the room is very dark and, to make matters worse, it's quite crowded, so there are very few good camera angles.

Fortunately, I had the answer. I switched on the infrared in my digital camera and that was able to handle the low light level. To capture an inclusive view of the pharmacy, I shot a vertical panorama which gave a nice, wide view of the scene.


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