The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

John Tradescant Herbalist

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629. Tradescant's botanic garden at Lambeth was established previously to 1629. Tradescant was a Dutchman, and gardener to Charles I. In 1656, his son published a catalogue of this garden, and of the museum which both of them had collected. Weston observes (Catalogue of Authors on Gardening, p. 30.), that Tradescant's garden having for some years lain waste, William Watson, F. R. S., visited its site on the 1st of May, 1749, and found many of the exotics remaining; they having endured two great frosts in 1729 and 1740. (Phil. Trans., vol. xlvi.). Tradescant left his museum to Elias Ashmole, who lodged in his house. Mrs. Tradescant contested the will, and on losing the cause drowned herself. E. Ashmole presented the collection to the University of Oxford, 1677. The Tradescants were usually called Tradeskin by their contemporaries; the name is uniformly so spelt in the parish registers. Henry Flatman, the painter, in a poem, mentions Tradescant's collection, and says, - 'Thus John Tradeskin starves our wondering eyes By buying up his new-born rarities.' Poems, p. 147.