polypody“This is one of the commonest of our Ferns, and one which is easy of recognition. It is abundant in all parts of our island, now hanging down from the gnarled branch or sturdy trunk of the old oak, now growing in large clumps on the hedge-bank, and forming a good foreground for the artist’s sketch ; while sometimes it may be seen waving its bright green leaves above the cottage thatch, or on stone wall or rugged rock.”

Ann Pratt, The Ferns of Great Britain, c. 1850

3.30 p.m., overcast, light breeze, 43ºF, 7ºC; I’m pleased to find that the fronds polypody fern that I started drawing on the Caphouse Colliery nature trail a week ago are still in the same position. The upper surface of the trunk of the old hawthorn that its growing on is covered with a gold-tipped moss.

Chromolithograph produced by Pratt’s collaborator, William Dickes, 1815-1892.

I love the quote from Anne Pratt (above) but I hadn’t realised that she also provided the illustrations for her book The Ferns of Great Britain. Searching the Internet for a date for the book I was surprised to find a portrait of her.

Anne Pratt
Anne Pratt, 1830, artist unknown. According to Wikipedia Commons, this portrait is in the public domain.

Anne Pratt, 1806-1893, was a celebrated botanist and the author of twenty books.


Ferns of Great Britain by Anne Pratt

Anne Pratt, Wikipedia article

William Dickes, Wikipedia article

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