Fake medieval ampulla

This ampulla is decorated on both sides with images of an angel. It was made to deceive as it looks like a medieval ampulla but was actually made in Victorian London. It was made by two men called Billy and Charley, who in 1857 realised the popularity of historic objects and the money they could make from selling them. They set up their own workshop making objects to fool wealthy buyers. Despite being revealed as forgers they remained in business until 1870. It is thought they made and sold thousands of fakes which today are very easy to identify from the genuine article. This one was donated to the museum by someone who claimed it had been found in Topsham.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Social and industrial history
Common Name
fake medieval ampulla
Simple Name
fake ampulla
Full Name
‘Billy and Charley’ medallion in form of ampulla
length 90 mm; W 60 mm; TH 20 mm
Period Classification
Victorian (1837-1901)
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Family Group

Collection Country
United Kingdom: England
Collection Area Region
Northern Europe
Collection Continent

    Tell Us What You Think

    Subject to approval, your name and blog comment will be made public. Any comment replies will also be public. Your email address will never be published. If you wish to contact us privately, please use the Contact form. Required fields are marked *