The Twickenham Museum
People : Garden Designers and Horticulturists

Abraham Prado
Viticulturist and horticulturist

Marries and moves to Twickenham

Abraham Prado, of Billeter Square, London, came to live in a property since demolished in West Twickenham, in 1762. He had married Esther Salvador in 1751, she being a member of another rich Jewish family and almost certainly related to Francis Daniel Salvador who later became a neighbour at The Lodge, farther down the Hampton road towards Teddington.

Walpole mentions the Prados from time to time in correspondence.

A noted cultivator of the vine

Abraham was a noted horticulturist and cultivated vines for their grapes, as related later by Edward Ironside:

"Mr Prado's knowledge of gardening was extensive, and he was a celebrated cultivator of the vine. He imported the large white and red Syriac grape, which have produced some bunches weighing fourteen pounds."

Walpole's story of the bunch of grapesWriting to Lady Ossory in September 1774, Walpole recounted the present of a smaller bunch during a dull time in Twickenham:

"The greatest event I know was a present I received last Sunday, just as I was going to dine at Lady Blandford's, to whom I sacrificed it. It was a bunch of grapes. In truth, this bunch weighed three pounds and a half, and was sent to me by my neighbour Prado, of the tribe of Issachar. I carried it to the Marchioness, but gave it to the maitre d'hotel with injunctions to conceal it till the dessert. At the end of dinner Lady Blandford said she had heard of three immense bunches of grapes at Mr Prado's at a dinner he had made for Mr Ellis. I said these things were always exaggerated. She cried, Oh! But Mrs Ellis said it, and it weighed I don't know how many pounds, and the Duke of Argyle had been to see the hot-house, and she wondered, as it was so near, I would not go and see it. 'Not I indeed', said I 'I dare to say there is no curiosity in it.' Just then entered the gigantic bunch. Everybody screamed. 'There', said I, 'I will be shot if Mr Prado has such a bunch as yours.'"

A view of Gifford Lodge on Twickenham Common (detail), engraved by Thomas Boydell in 1753

Lady Blandford was the sister of the dowager Countess of Denbigh who shared her house on Twickenham's riverside until her death in 1769. Mr Ellis was Welbore Ellis, son-in-law of Sir William Stanhope who had inherited Pope's Villa, living there until his death in 1802. The Duke of Argyle was over from Whitton Place where he had his own horticultural estate.

Twickenham Grange in 1753

Site of Prado's house?

The exact position of Prado's house remains open to some conjecture; Cobbett states that it was demolished in 1817. It may have been the house named Twickenham Grange shown to the right of Gifford Lodge in Boydell's engraving of 1753 (see Willow Grange, in Places/Houses of Local Interest). Alternatively it stood farther along the road, perhaps on the site of the Carpenters Company Almshouses built in 1841.

When he died, in 1782 Prado left £50 to the parish and later, Mrs Prado his widow gave a further £20, in 1788 when she died.

Further reading:

Hilda Finburg, Jewish Residents in 18th Century Twickenham, 1947
Anthony Beckles Willson, Strawberry Hill - A History of the Neighbourhood, 1991
W S Lewis, Horace Walpole's Correspondence, 48 vols, 1937-1983

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