Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cultivating Ferns & Fine Typography

Being a native Northwestern girl, I am a big fern fan and friend of the frond. OK, the type on this Catalogue of Ferns is pretty damn nice too. It was published in 1884 by the W&J Birkenhead Fern Nursery, in Manchester England, and is chock full of beautiful B&W botanical illustrations. Ferns were extremely popular in England at that time and collecting and growing specimens became all the rage. Ferneries became tourists destinations and ornate miniature greenhouses were invented (called the Wardian Case) to house indoor ferns. 
      The W&J Birkenhead Catalogue claimed to have the largest stock in the greatest number of species and varieties in the trade. Inspired by it, I began a small fern garden this past year and have a few ferns which I have propagated from spores. Finding the typography equally inspiring, I also intend to further my studies on how to propagate this lovely type from spores. I might better my luck by beginning with the rustic type on the catalog cover below.

This version of the 1899 W&J Birkenhead Fern Catalogue with the lovely rustic typography on the front cover claims to have over 1400 different fern species listed. It is available at auction at this time. 

:: Via the Letterology Archives.


  1. Great find, thanks for sharing it.

  2. I, too, am a fan of the fern and frond. I found this on Pinterest two years after it was posted, which means I'm posting from... the future. Oooh creepy.


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