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The Tradescants' Orchard: The Mystery of a Seventeenth-Century Painted Fruit Book (Hardback)
  • The Tradescants' Orchard: The Mystery of a Seventeenth-Century Painted Fruit Book (Hardback)

The Tradescants' Orchard: The Mystery of a Seventeenth-Century Painted Fruit Book (Hardback)

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Hardback 128 Pages / Published: 26/04/2013
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In the early seventeenth century there was eager interest, among the leisured classes, in fruits from the Mediterranean and beyond, not least for the kitchen gardens and orchards of England's grand houses. The volume of charming, vibrant, almost primitif watercolour paintings of orchard fruits on the branch, popularly known as `Tradescants' Orchard', is a precious and fragile relic of this era of broadening horticultural horizons. This manuscript, traditionally associated with the renowned plantsmen, the John Tradescants, was among the eclectic collections of Elias Ashmole (1617-1692), which came to form the basis of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Then, in 1860 it was transferred to the Bodleian Library. It has been quietly recognized as a mysterious treasure, yet the paintings raise many unanswered questions. Who painted them, and for whom? What was their purpose? Only one apple is represented - were there once others, now missing? Whose handwriting appears in the manuscript? Why did the artist paint wildlife such as birds, frogs and butterflies on many of the folios? All sixty-six of the original illustrations are reproduced here in facsimile for the first time, following a general introduction which maps out the mystery of why and how these beguiling watercolours came to be commissioned and made.

Publisher: The Bodleian Library
ISBN: 9781851242771
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 869 g
Dimensions: 302 x 195 x 17 mm

"The Tradescants arguably did more to change the botanical and gastronomic landscape in England than anyone else in the seventeenth century."
--Gastronomica, on the John Tradescants (12/18/2012)
"Hundreds of years after a British book collector passed away, his volume of luscious watercolors of orchard fruits has taken on new life. . . . Plant scientist Barrie Juniper and art historian Hanneke Grootenboer suggest that a new generation of detectives take up the mystery that has bedeviled them."
-- (07/08/2013)
"This fascinating new book reproduces a little-known manuscript that has been buried in the archives of Oxford's Bodleian Library for more than three hundred years."
--House & Garden (07/19/2013)
"The Tradescants' Orchard reproduces a book of watercolor images of fruit that raises many questions, discussed ably by the authors. . . . Juniper and Grootenboer have assumed the roles of sleuths and delved into the historical context in which the paintings would have been created, looking at some of the major personages on the British horticultural scene at the time and at the evidence that can be gleaned from the volume itself. The result is an interesting and educational foray into seventeenth-century English social and cultural mores and gardening history, the lives of Elias Ashmole and the Tradescants and the creation of the Ashmolean Museum, as background for an investigation into how the volume of watercolors might have been created, as well as why and for whom."-- (08/13/2015)
"A fascinating look at plantsman John Tradescant the elder, his son John Tradescant, and their contributions to horticulture and the development of fruit orchards in seventeenth-century Europe. . . . Much is explained in the text leading up to Barrie Juniper and Hanneke Grootenboer's reproduction of The Tradescants' Orchard and their book is yet another wonderful chapter in the history of botanical art."
-- (06/13/2013)
"Barrie Juniper and Hanneke Grootenboer are both good storytellers and efficient detectives. Their work covers history, botany, garden husbandry, handwriting in the seventeenth century, horticultural fashions, and the gardening legacy of the Tradescants. . . . [A] delightful book."
-- (07/19/2013)

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