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Bill-head of James and Ivie Hairs, Seeds-men, St James's street and near Ranelagh, Chelsea
A full transcription of the bill is available on the museum's online collections explorer.

With a potted cactus as their emblem, James and Ivie Hairs state on their bill head that they have for sale 'Kitchen Garden, Flower and Grass Seeds, Green-House and Curious Exotice Plants, with many Seeds and Roots Annually Imported'. Their newspaper adverts also boast the acquisition of seeds of exotic plants, imported from America. However, it was not for 'exotice' that the Blathwayts needed the Hairs brothers, but for trees. The Blathwayts used their relatives, the Lawrences, to look into prices for them. On 3 November 1783 Ann Lawrence wrote in a letter to Mary Blathwayt 'I have called & sent three of four to Hairs, to enquire the price of firs. I ... find the price of Scotch firs 3 years old 5s per 100; ditto 2 years old 4s [per 100]; Ditto 5 years old 16 (have been transplant'd twice); Larch 3 years old 4s per 100' (Gloucester Archives). This bill shows that the Blathwayts went for Scotch firs costing 7 shillings each, slightly dearer than the 3-year-old trees mentioned in the letter. They bought higher numbers of larch firs, and 'quicks' (hawthorn) for planting hedges.



This landscape by Gaspard Dughet from the Fitzwilliam Museum's collection was once in the collection the Cartwright family of Aynhoe Park near Banbury, Northamptonshire. Classical landscapes by Dughet and Claude Lorrain were highly sought after in the eighteenth century by collectors who also took an interest in developing their grounds. There was also a burgeoning market for the large-scale production of forest trees, as wealthy land-owning families began to beautify their views by landscaping their gardens and planting copses. Another nurseryman, James Shiells, supplied trees to Seaton Delaval estate in Northumberland during the period 1779-81. Earlier on, in the 1760s, the Cartwrights employed Lancelot Brown to 'improve' to grounds of Aynhoe Park. Ironically, the view in this painting has rather less to do with the serpentine rivers and undulating lawns of Lancelot Brown's style, and more in common with elements of the Picturesque movement, whose proponents reacted against Brown. They thought that Brown's parklands were too managed, resulting in expansive views that were smooth and featureless. Instead they argued for more irregularity and ruggedness, to produce the ideal picturesque estate.

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