Plants in Paintings: The earliest house plants?

Vittore_Carpaccio_050_DreamofStUrsula CROPPED

The Saint’s Dream, painted as part of a series of nine large works by the Renaissance artist Carpaccio, features Saint Ursula being visited by an angel warning of her upcoming death.  Ursula is asleep in a large four-poster bed, a statue of Hercules looking down on her and a little dog at her feet.  There are also two large pots on the window sill with myrtle and carnation growing.

Xenia Fields reckons the doomed Ursula might be one of the earliest house plant enthusiasts: ‘the lady certainly has two pots in her window and she was unlikely to be the only horticulturist of her day’.  She also takes some delight in the fact that house plant growers were, on this basis, 200 years ahead of conservatories, which didn’t appear until the 1700s…

Do you know of any earlier evidence of house plants or greenfingered indoor growers?

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