Dating dudson jasperware
Also, they were most diverse and abundant in the wilder, wetter, western and northern parts of Britain which were becoming more accessible through the development of better roads and, subsequently, in the late 1840s and 1850s through the development of a railway network.
People of many different social backgrounds sought out the species and varieties described in the fern identification books to press the fronds in albums or to collect fern plants to grow in their gardens or homes.
Although there are only about seventy native British species and natural hybrids of ferns, the Victorians selected hundreds of varieties. Soft Shield Fern Polystichum setiferum, Lady Fern Athyrium filix-femina and Hartstongue Fern Asplenium scolopendrium) each yielded about three hundred varieties.
For many people, fern hunting was just a pleasant pastime but for others it became a serious scientific pursuit and, for some, fern collecting became a commercial matter.
However, a whole generation had already been affected by botanical and horticultural Pteridomania, which continued during the 1860s, and the fern motif was to remain popular, as a fond symbol of pleasurable pursuits, for the following forty years or so.
A wide variety of these Wardian Cases was made during the 1850s and later, some of which were very ornate, but very few have survived.Even when the representation was stylised such as was common on engraved glass and metal, the effect was still recognisably 'ferny'.Some of the decorative objects that were made are undated so it is difficult to fully document the development of the use of the fern motif.However, it is only possible to touch upon a small variety of the objects in the space available here and the subject will be treated in greater detail in a forthcoming book.Although the main period of popularity of ferns as a decorative motif extended from the 1850s until the 1890s, the interest in ferns had really begun in the late 1830s when the British countryside attracted increasing numbers of amateur and professional botanists (male and female).
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Specialist dealers and fern nurseries developed who supplied not only native species and varieties but also exotic species from the West Indies and other parts of the world.