The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland
The book was released at a time of so-called "pteridomania" in Britain. Along with William Grosart Johnstone's The Nature-Printed British Seaweeds (London, 1859-1860), the book featured Bradbury's innovative nature printing process. The publisher of the work was Bradbury and Evans. Bradbury patented the process after seeing the invention of Alois Auer - a subsequent dispute arose as to its originator.
Despite a high level of interest for a time, the technique was not employed extensively in any subsequent English works. Bradbury, along with Auer, believed the technique to be an enormous advance in printing. However, the plants and other subjects that could be successfully printed in this way were few. Ferns were one of the few plants with a form that could be replicated, the shape of the fronds being largely two dimensional.
In this work the ferns, a plant highly suited to the process, were impressed upon soft lead plates. These were electroplated to become the printing plate, the details of the fronds and stem were hand-coloured at this stage. The resulting image was in two colours and provided a highly detailed and realistic depiction of the species.
- Boyd, Peter D. A. (2002-01-02). Pteridomania - the Victorian passion for ferns. Revised: web version. Antique Collecting 28, 6, 9-12. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
Media related to The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland at Wikimedia Commons
- Online copy of the title at Botanicus
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