The Victorian Fern Craze, Paperback

The Victorian Fern Craze Paperback

Part of the Shire Library series

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Fern Fever (or Pteridomania, to give it its official name), was popular in Britain between 1837 and 1914.

Although in previous centuries ferns played an important role in customs and folklore, it was only in this period that they were coveted for aesthetic reasons.

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, which is 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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 56 pages, Illustrations (some col.)
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Botanical art
  • ISBN: 9780747807469



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As usual the Shire books are equally delightful and frustrating in equal measure. Delightful since they provide well-sourced information on the most obscure subjects, frustrating because they leave you wanting more.. As usual in a very few pages, this gives a good overview of one of the Victorians most enduring fads - that of fern collecting. Covering the social & technological developments which made cultivation possible, it is lavislhly illustrated and well-written. It has a handy list of some extant ferneries & conservatories woth seeing, but disappointingly no bibliography to speak of.

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