Friday, May 13, 2011

Fish tanks and fern cases

The Victorians loved to collect creatures from nature and bring them indoors as ornament-- making butterfly collections, pressed flowers, and even microscope slides with tastefully arranged diatoms. But two inventions allowed them to bring a bit of the natural world into their house, not dead and preserved, but living and thriving in an enclosed habitat.

One was the aquarium, which made a fine centerpiece: 

Another was the Wardian Case, a sort of miniature greenhouse. Ferns were especially popular for these cases, in a fad known as Pteridomania:

No comments:

Post a Comment