Collecting ferns

Victorian illustration to download showing a group of men and women collecting ferns in a wooded landscape. One woman, trowel in hand, examines a specimen; another disentangles her skirt from a bramble. Pteridomania (‘fern craze’) was a favourite hobby between about 1830 and 1890. Many books on fern identification were published; people collected ferns in their habitats or from dealers, and displayed them indoors in Wardian cases (terraria), or in greenhouses, or outdoors in ferneries. Fern motifs were popular in decorative art – ceramics, textiles etc.