256 pages, 150 colour & b/w photos and illustrations
Pteridomania or Fern Fever took a frantic hold in Britain from the 1840s. It was a craze fostered by an array of books and magazines and special equipment designed for fern hunting trips and the cultivation of the finds in delicate fern cases. Sarah Whittingham has searched every nook and cranny for her subject, finding ferns in splendid glazed ferneries, Pulhamite grottoes and decoratively across every imaginable surface in the Victorian home. You would sit on your Coalbrookdale 'Fern and blackberry' garden bench and sup from your Ridgway 'Maiden Hair Fern' dinner service. The industrious Victorians lavished much love and care (and knowledge) on their beautiful fern albums. This ravishing book shines a sympathetic light on an enthusiasm that looks as if it might well take hold again.
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