Fern albums were collections of pressed ferns mounted into specimen books, many of the books containing the specimens being especially made for this purpose. The authors of this fascinating and well researched book on fern albums, Michael Hayward and Martin Rickard, have been interested in the subject for many years, searching for them worldwide in museums and botanical libraries, collecting and collating the data and meeting or corresponding with the curators to discover their history and how it relates to the Victorian Fern Craze that became an obsession for a generation or more.
Travellers to the farthest corners of the globe brought back albums that they had created, but in New Zealand a cottage industry rapidly developed with many individuals creating albums and sets of fern mounted cards to sell as souvenirs. Albums with elaborate carved or inlaid wooden covers became a local speciality, now prized items in many collections.
This attractive book, with over 400 full colour illustrations and much previously unpublished material, will appeal to fern lovers, historians and people who have an interest in this period of Victorian history.