London: Bradbury & Evans, 1855. Illustrated with 51 full page plates executed in the "Nature-Print" manner, hand coloured with tissue guards, complete.
Folio, original three-quarter green roan over green cloth, ruled in gilt, lettered in gilt all edges gilt, pale yellow endpapers. Expertly rebacked to style, slight rubbing of covers, occasional dampstaining of margins. A handsome copy.
The text was a scientific description of all the varieties of Ferns found in the British Isles. 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 (also the publisher of the book) innovative nature printing process. Bradbury patented this process of printing, 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.
Thomas Moore (1821–1887) was a n English gardener and botanist. He was an expert on ferns and fern allies from the British Isles, and he he served as Curator of the Society of Apothecaries Garden from 1848 to 1887. In 1855 he authored The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland.
Under Moore's tenure during the period of so-called ""pteridomania"", the garden increased the number of fern species cultivated there by fifty percent and was renamed the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1875. The Thomas Moore Fernery was built in 1907 on the site of his original garden and now contains a display of the varieties of ferns described and cultivated by Moore and popular during the Victorian era. [Fischer 89; Nissen BBI 1400; Stafleu & Cowan 6275].