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Museum Tradescantianum - the 1st Catalogue


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the vegetable lamb

Vegetable Lamb

John Tradescant, the younger, worked with a lawyer Elias Ashmole to prepare a catalogue of the Collection.

One of the objects was the vegetable lamb. The myth of the vegetable lamb was first known in the Middle and Far East in the 11th century; with its 'body and four legs' it resembled a small lamb and it was thought that it was half plant, half animal. It lived its life tethered to the plant and died when it ran out of grazing.

In fact, it is the root of a species of fern - an example can be seen in the Museum of Garden History in Lambeth, where the Tradescant Tomb can also be seen.

CIBOTIUM: From a genus of 12 species growing in tropical Asia, the Sandwich Islands and the Americas. CIBOTIUM BAROMETZ: Arborescent fern with 3-pinnate fronds, 1-2 ft broad. First introduced into the UK, where it is grown in a greenhouse, in 1824, from Assam, China





Lecture by Kevin Flude - prepared for 'Creative Practice in Narrative Environments'

MA course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design & developed for University College Worcester

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