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MS. Ashmole 1461

'Tradescant's Orchard': watercolours of garden fruits, arranged roughly by date of ripening; made perhaps in association with the elder John Tradescant,? 1620s

Description and further catalogue information | Bodleian filmstrips | Image captions | Image quality | Image sizes

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Images scanned from Bodleian filmstrip Roll 444.1

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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 6
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fol. iv verso
A stray lily: 'martagon vel Leli nova anglia'
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 2
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p. 1
Lists, under the following headings: 'Aple'; 'Apricot'; 'Cherry'; 'Damson'; 'Date'; 'Goosberry'.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 3
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p. 2
Lists of: 'Peares'; 'Peaches'.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 4
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p. 3
Lists of: 'Plum's' [sic]; 'Nectorines'.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 5
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p. 4
Lists of: 'Grape'; 'Hasell nutt'; 'Quince'; 'Strawberry'.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 7
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fol. 11r
'the great French stra[w]bere'.
Ripe: 20 May.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 8
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fol. 13r
'The red Gousebery'.
Ripe: 15 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 9
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fol. 15r
'The May Cherry'.
Ripe: 2 [May].
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 10
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fol. 17r
'The flanders Cherry'.
Ripe: 29 May.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 11
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fol. 19r
'The Luke ward Chery'.
Ripe: 10 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 12
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fol. 21r
'The cluster C[h]erry'.
Ripe: 15 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 13
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fol. 23r
'The Corone Cherry'.
Ripe: 19 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 14
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fol. 25r
'The Tradescant Cherry'.
Ripe: 21 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 15
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fol. 27r
'The whight Cherry'.
Ripe: 24 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 16
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fol. 29r
'The harte Cherry'.
Ripe: 24 June.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 17
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fol. 31r
'The Naples Cherry'.
Ripe: 1 July.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 18
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fol. 33r
'The Dworfe Cherry'.
Ripe: 1 July.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 19
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fol. 35r
'The Red plumordin plume'.
Ripe: 12 July.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 20
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fol. 37r
'The vilot plum'.
Ripe: 24 July.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 21
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fol. 39r
'The moroco plume'.
Ripe: 15 July.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 22
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fol. 41r
'The early whight pere plum'.
Ripe: 30 July.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 23
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fol. 43r
'The Denny plum'.
Ripe: 6 August.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 24
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fol. 45r
'The Grene Oysterly plum'.
Ripe: 9 August.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 25
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fol. 47r
'The quene mother plum'.
Ripe: 14 August.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 26
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fol. 49r
'The Nutmeg plum'.
Ripe: 18 August.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 27
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fol. 51r
'The frier plum'.
Ripe: 16 August.
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Source: Roll 444.1 frame 28
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fol. 53r
'The Red Mussell plumbe'.
Ripe: 20 August.
Following images ... (from Bodleian filmstrip Roll 444.2)

Description and further catalogue information

Watercolours of garden fruits: strawberry, gooseberry, cherries, plums, damsons, date, apricots, nectarines, peaches, apple, pears, quince, hazel nut, grapes. There are 66 surviving pictures (sometimes including insects, birds, etc.), plus one inserted picture of a lily (fol. iv verso). They are arranged, species by species, roughly by date of ripening during the gardener's year. Earlier 17th century (after 1611, perhaps 1620s).

Although precise evidence is lacking for the manuscript's origins, the traditional association with John Tradescant the Elder (d. 1638) is supported by several features: the watermarks which suggest an early 17th-century date for the main paper; the identification of several of the depicted varieties in the list of plants acquired by Tradescant on his journey to the Low Countries and France in 1611; the specific Tradescant references on fols. 25r and 86r; and the later ownership of Elias Ashmole (1617-92), whose acquisition of the Tradescant collections formed the core of his own donations to Oxford University.

The crucial evidence is the caption on fol. 86r, 'The Amber plum which .J.T. as I take it brought out of France and groueth at Hatfeld: ripe Septem: the .8.' The third-person reference (cf. fol. 129r) strengthens the palaeographical evidence that the clumsy italic hand of the captions is not that of Tradescant himself: his autograph journal of 1618 (MS. Ashmole 824, pt. XVI [= fols. 175-186]) shows a similarly unrhythmic italic, but with more elements of secretary style. But the caption confirms a close familiarity with Tradescant's work and a date later than his French trip of 1611. Its wording perhaps need not imply that he was still working for the Cecils at Hatfield House (Hertfordshire), for he left Hatfield c. 1614 before many of his new trees could have had time to fruit. The dates for the fruits when 'Ripe' are sometimes added in different inks, though by the same unidentified hand. The most likely conclusion is that the volume was indeed made as a record of fruit varieties for (but not by) John Tradescant the Elder.

The manuscript was later bound for Ashmole, incorporating some further blank leaves; his coat of arms appears as usual on the clasps and spine. Two leaves at the front (pp. 1-4 in a later pagination) contain a 'Table' in his hand, with the varieties listed usually in folio order under separate headings for each species. It was evidently compiled directly from the volume itself (the uncaptioned peach on fol. 122r is listed only as '......' under the 'Peaches' heading on p. 2); but it includes some helpful differences in spellings. He also rewrote the caption on fol. 147r which had been partly trimmed away by the binder.

For a description of the manuscript by A. C. de la Mare, see Tradescant's Rarities: essays on the foundation of the Ashmolean Museum 1683 with a catalogue of the surviving early collections, ed. Arthur MacGregor, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983, pp. 351, 352-3 no. 434, pl. CLXVIII, see also p. 5.

The official published Library descriptions of MSS. Ashmole are found in the 1845 'Quarto' catalogue by W. H. Black.

Frame 1 of this filmstrip, not included here, is an overexposed image of the page represented in frame 6.


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Page created 08 June 2000 by PJK; revised 08 October 2003 by LwM.
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