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What was the Victorian fascination with ferns

April 07, 2022

What was the Victorian fascination with ferns

You may of heard of the craze and mania in the 16th century of collecting tulip bulbs often single bulbs selling for £1500 or more, millions in today's money.

Fern collecting for the Victorians was a similar mania, this was the era of the water colour and really all middle class and above ladies drew and painted as did a lot of men. It you have taken a few minutes to look at a fern you will see every leaf has minute detail with the spores and marking etc, which in turn make painting extra challenging.

People would go to great lengths to acquire new species and the hedgerows and woods of England were scowered searching for new and rare types, men often hanging from ropes on cliffs and caves to get rare examples.

Special trowels now of course called fern trowels were invented, they tended to be approx 2 inches wide by about 6 inches long, allowing collectors when out walking to dig up examples and take home.

In turn of course you needed a way of displaying your collection, hence the fern pot came popular often in pairs and or course giving a great addition to your smart and rare fern to show off to your other collector friends.


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