The Tradescants were 17th century gardeners who introduced many new plants to England. More than 160 varieties of fruit were listed amongst the inventory of plants grown at the Tradescants nursery in Lambeth, many of which are illustrated in the Orchard. The Garden Museum invited 40 of the worlds leading botanical artists to paint watercolours of fruit in response to the Orchard.
The fat, slightly disfigured, heavy-hipped pear, ripening in late fall, has always intrigued Mary Page Hickey. She discovered the Bartlett pear was grown by the Tradescants and is still a favourite in the US. Dean Norton, head horticulturist at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, took her into the orchard to pick this fine specimen in the fall of 2014. After painting the ripened fruit, she ate one half then painted the other finding they are as delicious and juicy to eat as to observe. She returned next spring to paint the delicate white flowers, the first to appear on spring blooming fruit trees.