The New World Tapestry

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cene Two
    1642 PANEL



John Tradescant The Elder c1560-1638 was a Royal gardener, collector of curiosities and importer of exotic plants who came from Suffolk. He worked for a series of eminent patrons including Charles 1st and Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury who had gardens at Theobolds and Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Tradescant’s London house is shown, based on a watercolour by George Shepherd in the Asmolean Museum in Oxford. Tradescant appears in his Lambeth garden teaching one of his workers the art of grafting trees using the type of tools illustrated in Leonard Mascall’s ‘Art of Planting and Grafting’ 1572. The knot garden designs come from William Lawson’s ‘The Country Housewife’s Garden’ 1638 and the butterfly flitting amongst the trees is a White Admiral (Ladoga cammilla).


Tradition has it that the famous carving of a gardener on a newel post on the Staircase of Hatfield House is that of John Tradescant. That story is illustrated here and we can see the great gardener posing for the carver whilst Robert Cecil watches him chipping away. Behind the Earl, in the distance is ‘Bess’s Oak’, an ancient tree that still exists today. Why so called? Another tradition has it that under it’s boughs the young Elizabeth was sitting when King Philip of Spain’s special envoy to Queen Mary came to Hatfield to tell her that the Monarch was dying and she would be the new ruler within a week. The year was 1558 but as the actual month was November, the hardy Elizabeth must have been well wrapped up against the cold.


A.  Pruning knife B. Slicing Knife

C. Hammer with a File and Piercer D. Chisel


NAVELWORT  Umbilicus rupestris  ‘The leaves and rootes eaten doe break the stone, provoke urine, and prevaile much against the dropsie’. Gerard

FLEABANE   Conyza.  ‘The leaves and floures be good against the strangurie, the jaundice, and the gnawing or griping of the bellie ’. Gerard.

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