Dating dudson jasperware
No other single craze affected so many Victorians or such a cross-section of Society.Even the farm labourer or miner could have a collection of British ferns which he had collected in the wild and a common interest sometimes brought people of very different social backgrounds together.It is likely that some of the artisans who produced utilitarian or purely decorative objects with fern decoration had an interest in ferns themselves and were not just using the fern motif to satisfy the desires of their customers.Ferns could be used for decoration in ways that most other plants could not.Various types of outdoor ferneries and conservatory ferneries were also popular and many of the structures have survived in old gardens even though, in most cases, the ferns themselves have not.However, the author has discovered old Victorian fern varieties which were thought extinct surviving in some old gardens.This made ferns particularly suited to grow in poorly lit Victorian homes so long as they received adequate moisture.Special 'fern pots' were made in which to grow them.
This was a popular design with erect fern fronds, below dangling ears of wheat and acanthus leaves.
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).
Among the earliest Victorian pieces with fern decoration, known to the author, are a pair of 1840s papier-mch chairs with ferns represented in gold leaf and inlaid mother-of-pearl.
A pair of face-fans with painted ferns also probably date from the 1840s.