The Victorian Fern Craze
By Sarah Whittingham
(Shire Publications, Paperback, 9780747807469, 63pp.)
Publication Date: January 19, 2010
List Price: $12.95*
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The craze for collecting ferns reached such epidemic proportions that it affected the very existence of some species. The fern craze started to gather momentum in the 1840s; books and magazines maintained that fern growing was a hobby that anyone could enjoy as ferns would grow in the glazed fernery, garden, shady yard, window box or even indoors in Wardian Cases. The mania also spread from the living plant to depicting it in architecture and the decorative arts. Even roads, villas and terraced houses were named after the fern.
This book, the first to deal exclusively with the subject for nearly forty years, looks at the how the craze developed, the ways in which ferns were incorporated into garden and home, and the spread of the fern through Victorian material and visual culture.