Tradescant Collection

 

  The John Tradescants  
  The elder John Tradescant (c. 1570-1638) entered the historical record on his wedding day, 18 June, 1607. Two years later, in 1609, he was appointed gardener to Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury. Working originally at Hatfield House, the Salisbury estate in Hertfordshire, he later found employment under William Cecil, the second Earl, at Salisbury House in the Strand. In 1615, he moved from London to St. Augustine's Palace at Canterbury; a former residence of the Cecil family acquired three years earlier by Edward, Lord Wotton. Tradescant remained under Wotton's patronage until 1623, at which time he entered the service of George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham. Under Buckingham's patronage, he began work at the Villiers residence at New Hall in Essex. He later transferred his efforts to the grounds of the family's estate at Burley-on-the-Hill. Following Buckingham's assassination in 1628, Tradescant's services again became available, and in 1630, he was summoned to the court of Charles I, who dually appointed him Keeper of his Majesty's Gardens, Vines, and Silkworms at Oatlands Palace in Surrey. It was this position at Oatlands, the home of Henrietta Maria, the King's consort, that forever linked Tradescant's name with that of the ‘Rose and Lilly Queen'.

Through his various contacts, the elder Tradescant was granted a number of opportunities for travel abroad, often in pursuit of botanical specimens with which to enhance the gardens of his patrons. In 1610 and 1611, he made two consecutive trips to the Continent, with destinations in France and the Low Countries. In 1618, he sailed with Sir Dudley Digges on a diplomatic mission to Archangel, then known as Muscovy. An account of this expedition survives in Tradescant's handwriting, and can be found today in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Two years later, in 1620, Tradescant sailed again, this time as a volunteer seaman on the Mercury, captained by Phineas Pett, master shipwright to the British Navy. The destination of this particular voyage was Algiers, and the mission was to ‘Quell the Barbary Pirates' harboured there. In 1624, he returned to the Low Countries on behalf of the Duke of Buckingham, with whom he would later travel to Paris and the Ile de Rhé; the latter as part of the ill-fated siege of La Rochelle.

The younger John Tradescant (1608-1662) followed in his father's footsteps, both in name and in occupation. At the age of eleven, he enrolled as a scholar at the King's School in Canterbury, where he reaped the benefits of a classical education. In 1634, after a period of apprenticeship, he was admitted a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. Three years later, in 1637, he made the first of three voyages to Virginia, ‘to gather up all raritye of flowers, plants, shells, &c.', almost certainly at the king's request. Upon his return, in 1638, he was appointed Keeper of his Majesty's Gardens, Vines, and Silkworms at Oatlands Palace, ‘in place of John Tradescant, his father, deceased'.

 
Introduction
The Cabinet of
Curiosities
The John Tradescants
The Tradescant
Collection
Musaeum
Tradescantianum
The Tradescant
Room
Further Reading
The Catalogue
About this Resource
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