In search of countess Kemény Teréz

The first step in identifying the owner of the 18th-century medicine chest in our collection was to closely analyze the manuscript preserved in one of the drawers. This is in fact an invoice issued by pharmacists Anthonius Perestick for medicines dispensed from the pharmacy in Șimleu that countess Terézia Kemény paid for in cash on October 13, 1787, in Nușfalău. Terézia Kemény, born in 1739, was married to baron Bánffy Mihályi, and died in Cluj, in 1806, at 66 years of age. Her portrait once stood, beside her husband’s, inside the Bánffy palace in Cluj. During her research in the archives, Dr. Mária Pakucs has also identified Terézia’s and signature, noting that the countess continued to sign with her maiden name, as her own family was among the most important in Transylvania. Mother of five, Terézia Kemény looked after her family by owning and periodically refilling a medicine chest, essential especially during their numerous travels. The invoice preserved in the chest, listing medicines dispensed over several months, was probably paid at the Bánffy castle in Nușfalău (Szilágynagyfalu), Sălaj County.

The portrait is published in BORDÁS BEÁTA, A KOLOZSVÁRI BÁNFFY-PALOTA. MÚLT ÉS JELEN, KOLOZSVÁR, 2019, p. 108.