This medical kit consists of a rectangular wooden box, the top of which opens on a hinge, bearing the initials “J.M.M” at the front in black, framed by a rectangle of light-colored wood. Inside the lid, the underside is cushioned and lined with red velvet. The maker’s mark is stamped in the center in gold: “MARQUE DE FABRIQUE / ERIN / DEPASÉ.” The inscription surrounds a muse whose back is shaped like a blade. Inside the box, at the top, are 3-stepped parallel sections. The top one sits in its own space, is removable and replaceable. All 3 have circular recesses in which glass bottles containing liquids for making up medicines and ointments can be placed.
Depending the ship’s size, one or 2 naval surgeons, accompanied by 3 or 4 assistants, would always travel on board to take care of the crew’s health. The lack of recognition enjoyed by these surgeons in the early 18th century gradually began to change; they became valued crew members whose advice was respected, while the cultural and professional training they underwent became more rigorous. This was due, in part, to the establishment of the Colleges of Medicine. The first of these was the Royal College of Naval Surgeons in Cádiz, founded by Pedro Virgili in 1748, with the aim of providing Spanish ships with competent surgeons.