John Tradescant the Younger

1 portrait on display in Room 6 at the National Portrait Gallery

John Tradescant the Younger, attributed to Thomas De Critz, 1652 - NPG 1089 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Tradescant the Younger

attributed to Thomas De Critz
oil on canvas, 1652
31 1/2 in. x 24 in. (800 mm x 610 mm)
Purchased, 1897
Primary Collection
NPG 1089


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Tradescant was a traveller, horticulturalist, collector and gardener to Queen Henrietta Maria. His home in South Lambeth, called The Ark, was filled with his Museum Tradescantianum, a collection of rarities which included birds, fish, shells, insects, minerals, coins, medals and unusual plants. After his death the collection went to Elias Ashmole, who subsequently presented it to Oxford University, where it formed the basis of the Ashmolean Museum. The moss growing on the skull in the portrait is probably in allusion to the belief that a powder made 'out of the mosse of a man's scull' was 'a soveraine remedy for the falling sickness (epilepsy)'.

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