Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fern Craze

You may or may not have heard of the "Victorian Fern Craze," a time when ferns, fern gardens, and fern decorations were very popular throughout Great Britain. If you haven't heard of it, you're missing one of the more eccentric fixations of those wacky Victorians, and that's coming from a fern lover. Between roughly 1830 and 1890, the passion for ferns (or 'pteridomania' as it came to be known) reached its peak in England and Scotland, where gentlepeople arranged outings to collect ferns, which they then stored in ornate glass terrariums. These in- and outdoor fern gardens served as the inspiration for many ferny items, including the 'Fern and Blackberry' cast iron garden seat pictured above, manufactured by the English Coalbrookdale Company  around 1870. I wouldn't mind something like that for my garden...

The top-left image, Gathering Ferns, is from the Illustrated London News, July 1, 1871, and the bell-cover at top-right is from the 1856 Rustic Adornments for Homes of Taste.

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