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.
Publisher:Shire Publications Ltd
Published:30 October 2009
Genre:Social & cultural history
Secondary Genre:Material culture, Gardening: plants, Botanical art
Dr Sarah Whittingham is an architectural historian who lives in Bristol. She specializes in the architecture, interiors and gardens of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In 2008 she was elected President of the Council for the Preservation of Ancient Bristol.